The significance accorded to millets and the commitment to end sickle cell anaemia by 2047, showcases Union Budget's strong engagement with health and nutrition
The government’s commitment to popularising millets was evident in Union Budget 2023 as FM Nirmala Sitharaman announced support to develop Hyderabad-based millet institute into a centre of excellence.
She said the institute will be aided to conduct best practices and research in the field of millets. Calling millets “Shri Anna”, the minister said that the country, the second largest producer of Shri Anna in the world also intends to become global hub of millets.
She said that the government's strategy will improve the nation's food security and also ensure the welfare of farmers. Being high in protein and fibres, micronutrients and antioxidants, millets are considered extremely nutritious.
The United Nations has designated 2023 as the International Year of Millets at the request of the Indian government.
As part of its ongoing efforts to guarantee food and nutrition security, the central government has also started implementing a programme from January 1, onwards this year, under which free food grains will be supplied to all antyodaya and priority households for an entire year. Antyodaya households comprise the poorest families from the total number of BPL families.
Additionally, Ms. Sitharaman declared a goal to end sickle cell anemia disease by 2047. It will involve raising awareness, screening every one of the seven crore individuals in the impacted tribal areas between the ages of 0 and 40, and providing counselling through coordinated efforts.
The government is also considering R&D in healthcare by expanding facilities in a few ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) labs in response to the epidemic and the need for a joint public health management.
The government will also develop a brand-new programme to support centres of excellence for pharmaceutical research and innovation.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's budget for this year has increased from its FY23 allocation of Rs 86,200.65 crores to Rs 89,155 crores, which is an increase of Rs 2,954.35 crores.