In June 2022, the NITI Aayog, in collaboration with the UN World Food Programme, had published a report titled ‘Take Home Ration – Good Practices across the States/UTs’. The report outlines a number of beneficial and creative techniques that the States and UTs have used to implement the Take Home Ration value chain.


What is ‘Take Home Ration’ programme?

  • In line with the Union government’s persistent efforts to ensure food and nutrition security, India has been implementing the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).
  • The THR programme is a part of the Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) under ICDS.
    • SNP is provided in two ways – Take-Home Rations and Hot-Cooked Meals at Anganwadi Centres.
  • The THR programme offers fortified rations for use at home for children aged 6 to 36 months as well as pregnant and lactating women.
  • THR aims to fill in the nutrition gap among infants and young children by way of complementary feeding.
  • Under the programme, rations might be given as raw ingredients or in packets that have already been cooked.


Key highlights of the report

  • The report, prepared by the NITI Aayog and UN World Food Programme, outlines a number of beneficial and creative techniques that the States/UTs have used to implement the Take Home Ration value chain.
  • Procurement —
      • This section highlights various good practices related to procurement adopted by various States and UTs.
      • For instance, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Chandigarh, and Mizoram are procuring THR products through e-tendering for maintaining fair play and transparency.
  • Production Model —
      • Decentralised production model increases efficiency for last mile delivery of THR to beneficiaries.
      • In Odisha, Women SHGs are responsible for each of the processes from procurement to the production of the products within defined time limits.
      • In Karnataka, THR is produced by Mahila Supplementary Food Production Centres (MSPCs) led by Women Self-help groups.
  • Product Formulation —
      • The THR product must be healthful and enriched with enough ingredients to meet the nutritional requirements of the intended beneficiaries.
      • For example, in Madhya Pradesh, fortified Khichdi premix is made with smaller particles for greater palatability.
      • Beneficiaries in Haryana receive fortified sweetened flavoured milk.
      • The goal is to ensure that the target population accepts and consumes the product.
  • Quality assurance & quality control —
      • Gujarat has implemented inspections throughout the production process at the Amul THR factory to improve the quality of THR.
      • Once the product enters the Anganwadi centres, third-party laboratories gather random samples.
  • Monitoring —
      • To ensure effectiveness of the programme, it is critical to monitor its execution.
      • Jharkhand has adopted a real-time monitoring approach using call centres.
  • Supply chain management —
      • Supply chain management is an important component of the THR value chain.
      • Odisha has adopted the Mo-Chhatua software application and management information system to streamline supply chain management.
      • Similarly, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Telangana have opted for technological solutions.
  • Social and behaviour change communication —
      • For any initiative to have an impact, information, education and communication (IEC) play a pivotal role.
      • Several state governments have designed IEC material showcasing the importance of THR.
      • It includes flyers, flip-books, folk media campaigns, and digital platforms of IVR, and WhatsApp chatbot.


What are millets?

  • Millets are one of the oldest foods, these are the small-seeded hardy crops which can grow well in dry zones or rain-fed areas under marginal conditions of soil fertility and moisture. Millets are cultivated in low-fertile land, tribal and rain-fed and mountainous areas.
  • Millets can not only grow in poor climatic or soil conditions and provide nutritious grain as well as fodder, but these can also very well fit into multiple cropping systems under irrigation as well as dryland farming due to their short growing season.
  • The prolonged and easy storability of millets under ordinary conditions has given them the status of Famine Reserves and this feature is of great importance for India, as the agriculture of our country suffers from unexpected changes in monsoon.   


Millets in India

  • The major millets grown in India are Pearl Millet (Bajra), Sorghum (Jowar), Finger Millet (Ragi), Foxtail Millet (Kangni), Proso (Cheena), Barnyard Millet (Sawan), Little Millet (Kutki), and Kodo Millet. All these are rich in fibre, minerals, and Vitamins. Pearl Millet, for instance, has the highest content of macro as well as micronutrients such as iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, folic acid, and riboflavin.
  • Many of these are missing in rice or wheat. Scientific studies link millets intake to blood sugar control, reduced inflammation, improved digestion, and lower risk of heart diseases and cancer.
  • Major producers include Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.
  • Over 500 Startups are working in Millet value chain with the Indian Institute on Millet Research. More than Rs.6.2 crores has been disbursed to over 66 Startups while about 25 Startups have been approved for further funding.