The Union Budget of India was unveiled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, 2023. In the budget, it was announced that the government would be turning the Indian Institute of Millet Research, Hyderabad into a centre of excellence to foster innovation.
“We grow several types of Shree Anna, such as Jowar, Raagi, Bajra, Ramdana, Cheena, and Saama…These have a number of health benefits and have been an integral part of our food for centuries,” said Sitharaman.
She further added, “Now, to make India a global hub for Shree Anna Research, the Indian Institute of Millet Research in Hyderabad will be made into a centre of excellence.”
This step by the Indian government would further enable numerous FMCG brands to work with millets and bring forth innovation. India is the largest producer and second largest exporter of millets and 2023 has been declared as the ‘International Year of Millet’ by the United Nations.
Soumyak Biswas, Partner - Management Consulting, BDO India shed light on the government’s decision stating that the Government’s announcement to support the Hyderabad-based millet institute as a Centre of Excellence in Budget 2023-24 is not only expected to promote millets as ‘marvel grains’ of the future but will also address multiple issues related to food security, affordable nutrition, climate change, enhancing farmers’ incomes and exports from India.
“The proposed centre is envisaged to play a key role in R&D activities for developing high yielding varieties and sustainable cultivation methods which may to some extent help offset the challenge of the declining area under cultivation, promote value addition and product, help in large scale adoption of bio-fortification of millets which would go a long way in addressing challenges due to nutritional deficiency. This initiative would also enable intensification in the current production belts due to constraints on land availability through improvement in yields and enable innovation through the adoption of technology-led interventions in the millet value chain.”
Numerous brands share their sentiments on the same, praising the budget.
Reiterating the same, Harshavardhan S, Co-Founder and CEO, Lil'Goodness commented, “The focus on millets, especially to further enhance technology and applied research will provide a boost to millet-based products which have proven their health benefits amongst Indian and global consumers. The additional support to "Shree Ann" through the Indian Institute of millets research will provide a fillip to value addition across the value chain.”
The Investment to create skilled manpower for healthcare through enhancing the capacity of medical colleges and trained biomedical specialists will create the backbone required for improving the quality of healthcare across the country.
He further added, “The enhanced MSME credit guarantee scheme for startups will support the growth of startups that are at an early stage. This working capital and capex support at a critical juncture of their growth will help foster large-scale development of the start-up ecosystem of the country. The increase in carry forward of losses from 7 to 10 years will help start-ups plan cash flows better.”
Aditya Bagri, Director, Bagrry's Group stated, “The Union Budget of 23-24 envisions India becoming a global hub for millets. As a brand focused on creating various millet-based health foods, we appreciate this step to make India the global innovator of this super grain. Keeping the health and lifestyle benefits of Millets, it has age-old proven benefits for the overall well-being of our consumers.”
Bagri stated that the budget showcased the Government's determination to drive measures which can increase the popularity of millets in both global and domestic markets.
The brand thus echoes the vision of the government in accomplishing this through innovation, branding and marketing to make millet acceptable across the globe and look forward to being a part of this development.
Millets are the most utilized grains and the Union Budget has an optimistic outlook towards the agricultural sector. Nourish You as a brand is well aligned with the government's vision of promoting millet as the healthiest grain.
“India currently stands as the largest producer and second-largest exporter of millet. With the focus being placed on much-needed research, it will work as a catalyst in boosting overall growth and consumption of millets as a whole. Nourish You’s extensive and focused research and development over the past few years have enabled us to develop cutting-edge millet products that we aim to introduce in the market this year. The budget will help drive the millet revolution in India and create a dominant place for it in the agriculture sector,” asserted Rakesh Kilaru, Co-founder and CEO, Nourish You.
The Union Budget 2023–2024 offers incentives for advances in food infrastructure, research and development, and innovation, which is extremely encouraging for the FMCG sector's modest growth.
Shammi Agarwal, Director, Pansari Group added, “The government's initiative to promote millet for its health benefits would increase consumption and production of millet in the nation. In support of this, the government declared that the Indian Institute of Millet Research in Hyderabad will become a worldwide centre of excellence for the exchange of best practices, knowledge, and innovations.”
Being the second-largest millet exporter in the world, India's government also recognized the efforts made by all its small farmers to the well-being of its citizens by growing these wholesome millets.
"An increased focus on improving the technology and agricultural infrastructure will serve as a boon for the industry. A concentrated focus on the difficulties encountered by farmers, would undoubtedly, assist the agricultural community to achieve more momentum than they are now achieving. The announcement of setting up an agricultural accelerator fund will not only help the agri startups by young entrepreneurs in rural areas, to take concrete initiatives to come up with innovative and affordable solutions, for the challenges faced by the farmers but it will also help bring in modern technologies to transform agricultural practices to increase both the productivity and profits," said Chetan Jain, Director, Rajdhani. Foods.
While this year's budget did not shed any particular light on the FMCG sector, it broadened the horizon and touched upon every area where India needed growth and progress. Instead of narrowing the focus to a limited niche or industry, it supports every area of potential in the economy, from MSME to education, from AI to green energy.
According to the brand, in this aspect and the control of the fiscal deficit, the budget threads the needle with precision and indeed is praiseworthy. The three niches of concentration were skill enhancement, filling the gaps in production or infrastructure, and health.
"For instance, health and wellness. The colleges for nurses are only part of it; the push on millet is an ancillary route to wellness. Millets like jowar and bajra are a natural way to provide the body with supplements, offering more holistic nourishment. Overall, it’s a Swadeshi budget through and through that equally benefits all and sets the country on a path to steep progress and development,” said Ghanshyam Khandelwal, Chairman, BL Agro.