Kolkata, 11 April 2023: Since its establishment at the First Health Assembly in 1948 and implementation in 1950, World Health Day has been observed on April 7 of every year with the goal of raising awareness of a particular health subject to draw attention to a World Health Organization priority area of concern. The United Nations designated 2023 as the “International Year of Millets” at the Government of India’s request in an effort to raise awareness and boost global millets production and consumption.
Millets are nutritious gluten-free grains that are high in iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, and magnesium. Despite being indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, millets are still not widely utilized or consumed due to a lack of knowledge about their nutritional advantages. This class of grains includes sorghun (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), proso millet (chena/barri), foxtail millet (kakum/kangil), finger millet (ragi), browntop millet (korle), barnyard millet 9sanwa), buckwheat millet (kutta), amarnath millet (rajgira), kodo millet.
On April 6, 2023, J.D. Birla Institute’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition Management observed World Health Day on the college campus and organized a number of events to inform the students about the nutritional advantages of millets.
· The event’s high point was a conference on millets: The Future Superfood of India with paper presentations by students from many colleges. At the seminar, a book of papers with an ISBN was published, summarising the research and review work done by the students.
· To raise awareness, college students created millet-based ladoos and biscuits and distributed them at several Kolkata metro and train stations. A stall was also set up at the college for sale of these products.
· Students created a cartoon-based booklet to spread the word about millets among young children and distributed it to different schools in Kolkata.
· To show the public how each millet variety looks like, a kiosk was constructed out of an old, repurposed spectacle display cabinet, which featured all eleven varieties of millets grown in India along with their nutritional properties.
· Lastly, a poster competition amongst colleges that highlighted the advantages of millets was included in the festivities.
Over 100 students from eight college offering courses on Food & Nutrition participated – Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (Shibpur), University of Calcutta, Haldia Institute of Health Sciences, Panihati Mahavidyalaya (Sodepur), Bankura Sammilani College, NSHM Knowledge Campus, Sister Nivedita University and Swami Vivekananda University, (Barasat) participated. The seminar was conducted with support from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and in association with the Department of Food Technology and Biochemical Engineering, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. It was sponsored by Freshware, Efficient Hardware and Tools Company, Tarchen Pvt. Ltd and Impulsifo.
Professor Chiranjib Bhattacharya, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Jadavpur University graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Sri B. S. Acharya , Regional Director of FSSAI eastern region as the Guest-of-honor and Dr. Muthamilarasan M, Assistant Professor, University of Hyderabad as the Key-note Speaker. Among other guests Prof. Sunita Adhikary, Head of the Department of Food Technology and Biochemical Engineering, Jadavpur University and Prof. Prasanta Kr. Biswas, the former HoD of Head of the Department of Food Technology and Biochemical Engineering, Jadavpur University were present at the event.
ACTIVITY 1. A seminar on Millets: The Future Superfood of India and release of Book of papers with ISBN.
ACTIVITY 2. Oral paper and poster presentation by students and inter-college competition.
ACTIVITY 3. Preparation of millet based ladoos and cookies.
ACTIVITY 4. Kiosk displaying eleven varieties of millets grown in India.