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Redesigning Agricultural Approach To Millet Production As A Key For Sustainable Development In Budget 2023-2024

Budget 2023 largely emphasizes promoting the use of technology in the agriculture sector. Expectations for budget 2023, which was unveiled on Wednesday by finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, were high because it was the last comprehensive budget before the elections of Lok Sabha 2024. The year 2023 has been declared the 'International Year of Millet' by the United Nations at the assistance or suggestion of government of India.

The department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare wants to spread the cultivation of millet and its intake around the globe on a wider scale. Millets are very significant in Indian history of agriculture and they are the long cultivated crop in the human history. Moreover, recently many policies has been implemented by the government of India to increase the cultivation and intake of millets.

The most recent of which is the declaration of 2023-2024 as IYM in the budget. The agricultural industry of India still remains crucial to the economy of nation, despite a fall in proportion of agriculture in the economy during the last fifty years. It is essential for sustainable development to have focus on increasing the productivity of grains for the food security.

Diabetes mellitus one of the health issues connected with the shift in diet from high protein foods to high glycemic index foods, like rice. In order to prevent the mounting of diabetic patient cases in the nation, there is need for an increase in consumption of foods which are rich in fiber. Lacking of such crop is often cited as one of the factors responsible for the present nutritional dilemma of a country where issues like malnutrition coexist.

This essay objectively examines the issuing of various resources for the production of millets in the current budget 2023-2024 and examining both negative as well as positive aspects.

Expectations for budget 2023, which was unveiled on Wednesday by finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, were high because it was the last comprehensive budget before the elections of Lok Sabha 2024. For example it was anticipated that under PM-KISAN scheme, the sum provided to farmers would rise. Some of the expectations were met in this budget, while some were not dealt successfully.

Budget 2023 largely emphasizes promoting the use of technology in the agriculture sector. This is a welcome step to decentralize storage, which will significantly reduce post-harvest failures and also act as a catalyst for growing farmer returns. By empowering contemporary technology to revolutionize agricultural practices, boost production and maximize profits, the finance will be established with the goal of offering creative and reasonably priced solutions to problems encountered by farmers.

The agricultural industry of India still remains crucial to the economy of nation, despite a fall in proportion of agriculture in the economy during the last fifty years. The nation has made significant improvements in agricultural production over the past few decades, such as adoption of high-yielding seed varieties, increased use of fertilizer, and improved methods of management of water.

Modifications in land distribution, food delivery and water management mechanisms will enhance production and help India fulfill its rising food demand. The concentration on technology based measures and reimbursement for farmers made the 2023 budget a mixed bag for agriculture, although anticipated tax breaks were missing. As per what the government says, the overall budgetary assignment will be beneficial for small scale farmers.

Millets belong to the category of small seeded grasses, which is usually ignored or neglected, despite the fact that the significance of such huge grained cereal crops such as rice, corn and wheat to the origins of agriculture is well acknowledged.

Primarily, India is considered as an agrarian society, meaning that agriculture is the primary source of income for 55% of the country's inhabitants. Both small as well as marginal farmers make up 86% of farmers of India (agriculture census 2015-2016). Millet crops are gaining popularity due to their favorable health effects and eco-friendly attribute. These crops are typically viewed as minor grained cereal that play a supporting function in an agrarian plan when they are launched into initial farming strategies.

In India small farmers are struggling with money problems. Malnutrition along with unrecognized hunger are the major concerns affecting the Indian mothers and their children. Also, climate change may cause a decline in global agricultural productivity in the coming decades. The expression 'smart food' was first used by ICRISAT which refers to the food that should meet the following requirements: of being good for you, the farmer and the plant as well. The importance of millet as a smart meal is unavoidable in order to tackle these significant and enduring concerns.

One of the biggest challenges that countries confront is the lacking of micronutrients or the 'hidden hunger'. One sustainable way to ensure nutrition as well as food security is through millets. Major hurdle, which is experienced by more than 2 billion people globally, of which half residing in India. These inadequacies are the outcome of lack in cereal based meal diet plan that is monotonous and has minimal food consumption.

There are nine forms of millets that are generally known to be grown in India, of which three forms are considered to be major millet while other six are addressed as minor millets. Although, for its cultivation practice, the Punjab state has enormous potential and Punjab is contributing about one-fourth of total grained cereals of the country, it is believed to be lagging behind in the production of millet cereal. Millets were also a traditional crop in Punjab.

According to the historical data, even before the advent of towns of the Indus Valley civilization, they were used in the initial stages of agriculture. Almost 11 hectares of land was used for millet farming during time period of 1950's.

Currently, this has come down to a total of about 1000 hectares. As per the reports of Punjab Agricultural University of Ludhiana, with the advent of Green Revolution in year 1965 the cultivation of millet crop was replaced with the cultivation of crops like rice and wheat, which resulted in a decline in the area under millet production.

With the passage of time, the state only had 2.13 lakh hectares for the cultivation of millet crop in 1969-1970. The area under millet cultivation is approximately minute in current times. During the prolonged period of dryness and erratic rainfall that subcontinent had experienced, millets assisted in feeding the local inhabitants as well as their animals or cattle.

Despite the extensive history of millets, the millet cultivation in India has decreased gradually. This type of transition to other crops form millet can be explained by a number of factors. In diets nowadays the rice and wheat crops are the preference of bulk of consumers that meaning food consumed is more of high carbohydrate and less of protein.

Diabetes mellitus one of the health issues connected with the shift in diet from high protein foods to foods with a high glycemic index, like rice and wheat. In order to prevent the mounting of diabetic patient cases in the nation, there is need for an increase in consumption of foods which are rich in fiber. Lacking of such crop is often cited as one of the factors responsible for the present nutritional dilemma of a country where issues like malnutrition coexist.

The year 2023 has been declared the 'International Year of Millet' by the United Nations at the assistance or suggestion of government of India. The department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare [1]wants to spread the cultivation of millet and its intake around the globe on a wider scale. Millets are very significant in Indian history of agriculture and they are the long cultivated crop in the human history.

Moreover, recently a number of policies has been implemented by the government of India to increase the cultivation and intake of millets, the most recent of which is the declaration of 2023-2024 as International Year of Millets (IYM) in the budget talk delivered on 1 February 2023 by Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, the Union Finance Minister of India. Millets referred to as 'Nutri-cereal' as it is the crop which is climatic resilient that function much better than the other crops like rice and wheat on the scale of marginal growth circumstances and also have good nutrient profile, which can assist attain nutritional security sustainably. Comparing millets with other crops, they are easy and simple to grow.

When they are compared to crop like rice, millets do not need as much time or attention like other crops requires. As the IYM underway the government has planned many of millet related promotional activities across the country, while also emphasizing how much important millets are for the summits of G-20. There is a need that government should organize various awareness programmes to raise understanding the health advantages of millet crop and also requires to conduct in-depth consumer research to gauge the perception of consumers and consciousness about millet.

Government of nation should also establish plans to expand the mid-day meal programmes in government schools and add millets to the Public Distribution System to promote demand for millets and end secret hunger of children. To encourage the manufacture of value added foods based on millet, new businesses should also be offered with incentives as well as subsidies by the government.

This paper aims to explore and concentrate on the potential function that can be performed by millets in furtherance of dietary diversification along with the balanced diets and better approach is suggested for the millet utilization in order to tackle the major issues with regard to food and nutrient security. This results into the growing awareness of significant crop millet.

In-Depth Nuanced Analysis
Millets are largely a kharif crop in India and require less water and agricultural inputs than other staple foods of a similar nature. [2]In comparison to 107 million tonnes of wheat, millet produced 118 million tonnes overall in 2021�22[3]. The 'Year of Millets' was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2023 to encourage the cultivation and intake of millets[4].

India has made a number of efforts to encourage the usage of millets.[5] For the International Year of Millets, it provided the FAO with a donation of USD 5 lakh. Startups and millet goods have been promoted in order to increase domestic use and exports of millets[6].Institutionalized in March 2021, the Production Linked Incentive Scheme for the Food Processing Industry. [7]With production incentives for ready-to-eat meals including millet-based goods, marine products, and processed fruits and vegetables, it has an outlay of Rs 10,900 crore. [8]

The development and effectiveness of an initiative or policy relies not merely on the availability of funding as well as upon the planning phase, stage, and method used in making expenditures. Inadequate risk control and climatic adaption approaches have not emphasized in the current budget. Since colossal susceptibility of the millet crop to climate change, productivity is increasingly at danger from severe weather happenings or conditions including drought, heavy downpour results in floods and the like.

In order to handle such hazards, the 2023-2024 budget sufficiently does not prioritise climate-smart strategies, for example adopting climate-resilient types and funding insurance plans. Incorporating techniques for adaptation to climate change is essential to protect millet output and ensure producers livelihoods.

As the new budget has been already prepared by the government, the insufficient emphasis in this budget on research and development inducements for the productivity of the millets is one of the aspect of denunciation. With the climatic changes and emergence of the pest, it is necessary for the development of resilient crop diversification for catering the present day challenges for agricultural sector.

Although the whole unified management of water paradigm has great potential, things are now ambiguous. In nation like India, the agricultural sector utilizes the most water, and unless this problem is solved, every attempt would eventually be lost[9]. The positive side is that there have recently been some indications of hope, but the downside is that, aren't they yet received favorably.

Nearly three-fourths of the water in country India is used to cultivate crops such as paddy, wheat and the like, which require a lot of water. These kinds of crops are preferred by farmers due to guaranteed purchasing with a low support rate. These crops are encouraged by policies to achieve national food security. This present 2023 year is being observed as the International Year of Millets throughout the world. The revamping of millets in addition to other native and agro-ecologically vulnerable patterns of cultivation has been repeatedly discussed by important policymakers.

Their voice, however, fails to coincide with their budget. The provision for the subsidy to chemical fertilizers is reportedly floating at practically an all-time high, or 1, 75,148 cr INR, according to the budget documents. However, the funding for the substitute technique remains pitiful. [10]In comparison to the 10,433 crore INR in funding allocated for the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) last year, the amount has been decreased by approximately 25%.

Additionally, only 459 cr INR is provided to the National Mission on Natural Farming. India dire need of a multifaceted approach to water sustainability. The agricultural sector ought to be the first concern, with the future viability of water supplies coming in second. Every other approaches have restricted utility unless issue is not prioritized at level.

2023 has been designated as the Year of Millets by the UN. It is heavily marketed for being healthy and able to withstand climate change, however research is also needed on its implications on human wellness and financial sustainability. Millets have been a mainstay of Indian cuisine since the days of the Vedas[11]. Millets have reportedly been consumed throughout China for more than four thousand years.

All around the United States in the Chinese retail outlet, it is freely accessible. It is typically grown in Indian states and tribal belts amid rain-fed. By virtue of Green Revolution the position of staple food is taken by crops like rice and wheat. Reviving millet has been advocated for a number of factors, notably its adaptability to climate change, overproduction of rice and wheat, wellness benefits, and financial advantages for farmers. Compared to rice and wheat, which require significant carbon inputs, millets are marketed as being more climate resistant.

This is an untruth, though. Unpredictable monsoons can reduce production of wheat as well as rice, which flips the situation. These lofty safety stock or buffer inventory is deceiving. Due to excessive costs on the common marketplace with insufficient rationing availability, many are unable to acquire what they seeks to have. If the rations including quantity of grains is increased, the whole reserve store can disappear. The decision is likewise unwise to plant millet on areas that might otherwise grow grains such as wheat and rice.

This might results in scarcity of the grains similar to the one that occurred from 1966 to 1968, during which we significantly relied on wheat grain of USA in accordance with Public Law 480 for our daily necessities. According to the legislation, the President of America may approve the shipping of excess supplies to welcoming countries on endowment or concessionary conditions.

In this contemporary times with advances in technology, one acre of paddy may produce 35-40 quintals. When compared to 35 to 40 quintals of rice, the yields for the three main millets, jowar (sorghum), ragi (finger millet) including bajra i.e. pearl millet, range from 5 to 10 quintals. Prominent millets generally well-stabilized by present agronomic practices, that involve the application of pesticides as well as fertilizers.

In this final stage, a few irrigations are necessary for it to flourish. The fact can't be neglected as because of relatively having low yields of prominent millets plus large area requirements, all in all if they were being staple crop then the cultivation of major millets would not results into the resilience of climate. The reason for this is due to the fact that 100 gr. of sorghum include 11 g of proteins, vitamin C about 28 mg, as well as ten % of fats as well as micronutrients including iron about 8 mg, 10 mg of calcium, magnesium about 10 mg along with 2.5 g of zinc. Nevertheless, there have been few concerns about anti-nutritive properties of the millets.

The benefits of such grains are outweighed by phytic acid, a harmful substance which is anti-nutritive. Phytic acid that contains phosphate interacts when consumed in the millets to generate a number of compounds. It bonds with millet micronutrients such as zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium, among other micronutrients. Consequently, our intestinal tracts are unable to digest the nutrients that minerals and vitamins provide.

Additionally, neither phytic acid nor its metal chelates would be taken by the body of human beings. Anaemia and weariness are the results, which is likely the cause of the frequent occurrence of these disorders between tribal people and impoverished farmers who only eat millet which poses a significant danger to health. A drawback of the marketing of millet as a special kind of everyday meal is the substantial quantity of phytic acid it contains. Additionally, certain millets, including pearl millet, have high oxides concentrations that may cling to the mineral calcium and result in stones in the kidneys.

Inhibitors such as trypsin, protease, which are also present in millets, slow process of absorption of minerals by the body and other micronutrients. Millets also have significant quantities of polyphenols and tannins, which may combine with micronutrients to generate chelates. Consequently, none of the criteria allow for the availability of micronutrients in the bodies of people. Although phytic acid is undoubtedly present in a variety of different foods, including rice, legumes, cereals, legumes and wheat current processing of food almost eliminates it.

For instance, phytic acid also present in milled rice which is about 0.2%, brown rice shows presence of acid of amount of 0.9%, which is as well as wheat which also has presence of this acid which ranges from 0.4% to 1.4%. Excessive phytic acid concentration must to be lowered before the millets can be consumed, which entails soaking for 24 hours, draining the extra water, and boiling. At the moment, hardly a lot of individuals use these techniques. The millet is typically powdered and then boiled or made into flatbread (chapattis), which might not completely eliminate the phytic acid.

The acid can also be removed by fermentation with yoghurt. Worldwide, fermentation processes are used by many different civilizations. Instances embody the Ghanaian porridge known as Hausa Koko and our own Jawar Ambali. To lower the level of phytic acid in our cookery, these approaches should be modified. It is believed that this grain is goitrogenic and is known to have anti-thyroid effects is another concerning aspect of this grain. According to studies, millet, particularly pearl millet, includes substances that cause goitre, such as vitexin and C-glucosyl flavones.

Despite the fact that boiling can remove goitrogens, its still preferable for those experiencing iodine shortages to stay away from goitrogenic foods like pearl millet. Several millets aren't believed to have had comparable research into their goitrogenic impacts. When it comes to financial variables, millet consistently produces lower yields than either rice or wheat.

Millets are a rain-dependent crop and also recognised as summer crop, they are unable to be produced during the Rabi season. Additionally, there is lack of machinery for process of processing of millets that may be used for separating or grinding. On millet, the government also does not set a minimum support price (MSP). Given the economic difficulties, it seems obvious that farmers would not choose to cultivate millet. Given the low yield of millets, more areas are needed. Millets have a limited lifespan in storage, to add to it also can't be kept for up to three years, just like grains such as rice and wheat.

This occurs as a result of the millets' containing the amount of fat. Moreover the indispensable matter of MSP was discussed in last year budget of 2022-2023, however present budget completely ignore about this matter. There is no talk about MSP in the current budget of 2023-2024. It is also important to do in-depth research on phytic acid, agricultural science social standing, as well as additional antinutritive components.

Certain of the above aforementioned millets in this essay have been grown by peasants in nomadic regions, who sale them in somewhat modest numbers at weekly marketplaces. Agriculture experts and the organizations of the government are tasked with stabilizing agricultural science by creating equipment for processing, warehousing procedures, also the techniques for cooking like fermenting.

The key problem is using the right ways of processing to reduce antinutritive phytic acid while maintaining a significant quantity of minerals. It may be preserved for generations and propagated with the use of the cryogenic preservation process and ongoing culture. In accordance with antinutritive based literature of the millets, perhaps would be best to limit millets consumption about 60g per person each day but not more than that. There is also possibility or way to use it with grains like paddy and wheat. One would definitely suffer from the dangerous effects of the phytic acid if consumes millet in their diet on the daily basis and also those who might skip them for certain days however when they consume that is more than 60g.

Bodies of human beings are not accustomed of consuming much quantity of this acid. Consequently it is reflected that stopping the colossal consumption of millets would not have long term negative impacts over the human's body. Research in science must take precedence above advertising, popularity and brand marketing when conducting study activities.

Waiting for the findings is preferable to implementing millets in government schemes that are necessary for school i.e. Mid-day meals, schools situated in villages, and the public distribution system (PDS). It is important to make the negative consequences of millets widely known. Another aspect upon which this budget have not emphasized much is the lack of infrastructure for the production of millets. As from several years farmers are accustomed with the cultivation techniques and cropping patterns in accordance with the crops such as wheat however they is dire need for the development of such infrastructure which is particularly or specifically for the farming of millets.

If government wanted to increase the marketing as well as productivity level of the millets then they have to make investments sufficiently in irrigation systems, infrastructure of transportation and the like. The positive result of the development of infrastructure would be that post-harvest losses can be minimized due to availability of the adequate infrastructure.

More it would help farmers to access the market outlets which in furtherance encourage the peasants to indulge themselves into farming of millets. The very well result of imposing policies or schemes lead to huge chaos in the society could be seen in the farmers protest started in 2020 against three farm laws which were promulgated by the union government.

This protest by the farmers of whole India is known to be the longest and the biggest protest in the vast chronicle of modern India. The agitation show the will power of the common people, their self-confidence even did not shattered by the chilling cold, scorching heat and not even the heavy downpour. This protest overwhelmed the hearts of foreign nations like Canada too as women and children also showed commendable participation.

However the downside of this protest was more than 800 people lost their lives might because of excessive heat of summers, chilling cold of winters and some because of injuries they got by baton charge of police forces. All in all the government if wanted to introduce any change as per the budget 2023-2024 they had to do it in a pristine manner which in furtherance not lead to any mass or resources destruction.

There is a famous say 'variety is the spice of life.' However in the bygone era as well as in this epoch it is irrefutable or there is no denying of the fact that hoping is not an approach or strategy. It implies that farmers cannot reasonably sell the expectation of a successful harvest of kharif after dropping a Rabi crop. However what happens when producers own it as their sole source of income?

As a result of this, the nation's general food grains scenario would likewise suffer, contributing to hike in the monetary value of food and increasing the risk of shortages of food for those who are poor and already suffering from the less accessibility to the resources. The possibility of the Rabi crop yield matching even the level of last year is dwindling.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the nation's food supply continues to be decreasing as a result of primarily fulfilling the obligations of the national food security plan and then of sending almost 3 million tonnes of grains into the marketplace in order to curb the matter of rising prices. Our nation is approaching a shortage crisis if the subsequent 2 months do not see a bountiful crop.

The following will increase the price of foodstuff. Despite the cost-free foodgrains provided by the food security programme, consumers are still required to pay extra for their food. This has a negative effect on profitability as a whole, especially for producers who did not make profits throughout four seasons in a row.

Though the budget 2023-2024 have several shortcomings such as women and children are completely ignored, matter of MSP has not been addressed as it was discussed in the previous year budget of 2022-2023 and the like.

As the Indian government also dreamt of making this year 2023 as international year of millets in actual manner however no one is giving surety or claiming that if country farmers shift from crops like wheat or paddy to the production or cultivation of millet then every individual of the nation would not remain devoid of food, no one especially those in power have not given people of India the guarantee that there will be no mishappening of crisis like scarcity of food and with this paradigm shift no person going to die with starvation.

  1. Anju Agnihotri Chaba, 'Punjab, the Granary of India, Lags in Millet Production: Data' The Indian Express (Jalandhar, 30 December 2022) accessed 31 August 2023.
  2. Anju Agnihotri Chaba, 'In Punjab, a Farmer Returns to His Roots, Turns Torchbearer for Millets' The Indian Express (Jalandhar, 26 January 2023) accessed 31 August 2023.
  3. ibid.
  4. 'International Year of Millets (IYM) 2023 Kick Starts with Focused Activities Being Undertaken by Central Ministries, State Governments and Indian Embassies' (Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, 1 January 2023) accessed 29 August 2023.
  5. 'Demand for Grants 2023-24 Analysis: Agriculture and Farmers Welfare' (PRS Legislative Research, 6 September 2023) accessed 7 September 2023.
  6. 'Implementation of Budget Announcements 2022-23' 'Ministry of Finance Department of Economic Affairs, 1 February 2023) accessed 6 September 2023.
  7. 'Ministry of Food Processing Industries issues guidelines for Production Linked Incentive Scheme for the Food Processing Industry' (Ministry of Food Processing Industries, 3 May 2021) accessed 29 August 2023.
  8. 'Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry' (Ministry of Food Processing Industries) accessed 7 September 2023.
  9. 'Union Budget 2023-24: A Detailed Analysis with a Water Lens' (India Water Portal Hindi, 3 February 2023) accessed 7 September 2023
  10. Ibid.
  11. K Nagaiah and others, 'Beyond the Hoopla: Millets Must Be Promoted. But Health and Economic Concerns Need Priority' (DownToEarth, 22 March 2023) accessed 28 August 2023.

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