INDIA – In a step towards enhancing the health and well-being of India’s Armed Forces, the Defence Ministry and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) have forged a powerful partnership. 

Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a resolute commitment, the two entities aim to promote healthy eating practices and ensure the availability of safe and nutritious food for the military personnel.

The collaboration also aims to promote the consumption of millet and foster healthy eating practices within the Armed Forces.

Recognizing the profound importance of millets in building food and nutritional security in the country, the Indian government declared the year 2018 as the National Year for Millets. 

Millets, such as Jowar (Sorghum), Bajra (Pearl Millet), and Ragi (Finger millet), have been integral to the Indian diet for centuries, providing essential nutrients and health benefits. 

Encouraged by the United Nations’ declaration of 2023 as the International Year of Millets, India is taking further strides to popularize these nutri-cereals and create awareness about their numerous health benefits.

The MoU was formally signed in the presence of esteemed dignitaries, including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya in New Delhi. 

The agreement was sealed between Lieutenant General Preet Mohindera Singh, Director General (Supplies and Transport) representing the MoD, and FSSAI CEO G Kamala Vardhana Rao, symbolizing the collective resolve to prioritize the health and well-being of the nation’s defenders.

A book of healthy millet-based recipes

In addition to the momentous agreement, the Ministers unveiled a book titled ‘Healthy Recipes for Defence,’ meticulously developed by FSSAI. The book features a wide array of millet-based dishes, reflecting the joint effort to introduce these nutritious options to the Armed Forces personnel.

The collaboration’s ultimate objective is to create awareness about the remarkable nutritional benefits of millet-based food products among defence personnel. It also strives to introduce millet-based menus in messes and canteens across the Armed Forces and other food outlets under the MoD. 

In tandem, the initiative includes training of food handlers and chefs of messes and canteens, focusing on food safety and hygiene in adherence to the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.

The comprehensive collaboration extends its reach to the families of Armed Forces members. Through concerted efforts, these families will be encouraged to adopt nutritious diets, make healthy food choices, and prioritize food safety. The collective mission is to ensure the holistic well-being of those who tirelessly serve the nation.

The Defence Ministry, in its official release, emphasized the profound significance of improving the health and well-being of the Armed Forces. A strong and resilient military is essential in fulfilling their sacred duty of safeguarding the nation.

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