Nirmala Sitharaman announces 'Millet Challenge' for startups

Tags: Economy/Finance National News

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on August 27 announced 'Millet Challenge' for startups engaged in coarse cereals.


  • Nirmala Sitharaman also announced Rs 25 crore funding for the University of Agricultural Sciences at Raichur, Karnataka under NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development).
  • This amount will be used for value addition and capacity building to promote coarse cereals and for setting up of incubation centers for coarse cereals value chain and processing.

  • She attended the Millet conclave 2022 which was held at the agricultural university, Raichur, Karnataka. 

What is the 'Millet Challenge' for startups ?

  • NITI Aayog will soon announce this challenge for startups related to coarse cereals.

  • In this, any startup providing solutions in innovative ways will be able to participate.

  • The names of the winners will be announced before December.

  • A basic grant of Rs 1 crore each will be given to three winners, Rs 20 lakh each to 15 selected candidates and Rs 10 lakh each to other 15 selected candidates.

  • The Union Finance Minister asked the major millet processing companies to focus on Karnataka to make the state a brand in this sector.

About Millets :

  • Millets are high nutrient cereal crops and are classified as small seeded grasses.

  • They include jowar (sorghum), ragi (finger millet), korra (foxtail millet), arke (kodo millet), sama (little millet), bajra (pearl millet), chena/barr (proso millet) and sanwa (barnyard millet).

  • India is one of the major producers of millets in the world with an estimated share of about 41% in the global production.

  • Major producers of millets are Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.

  • Millet has been notified as a nutritional cereal by the government in April 2018.

  • They are a rich source of protein, fiber, minerals, iron, and calcium and have a low glycemic index.

  • The production of millets in India has increased by 16 % to 17.26 million tonnes (MT) in the 2019-20 crop year (July-June) from 14.5 MT in 2015-16.

  • In March 2021, India led a UN General Assembly resolution to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets.

  • India's proposal was supported by 72 countries.

  • India is the 5th largest exporter of Millets globally.

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