Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday revealed the rationale behind terming millets as 'Sri Anna' as announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech.
Addressing a public rally in Tumakuru district, he said this name has been picked up from Karnataka where the millets are called 'Siri Dhaanya', which is a colloquial way of saying 'Sri Dhaanya'.
"People in Karnataka understand the importance of 'thick food grains' (millets). That's the reason that you all call it 'Siri Dhaanya'. The country is taking forward millets by respecting the sentiment of the people of Karnataka," the Prime Minister said.
"Now, the millets will be known as 'Sri Anna' across the country. 'Sri Anna' means the best among all the food grains," Modi added as he sought to connect with people in poll-bound Karnataka, where assembly elections are due by May.
This is the Prime Minister's third visit to the state in less than a month.
He is scheduled to inaugurate the Aero India show here on February 13 and unveil the airport in the district headquarters town of Shivamogga on February 27.
Modi pointed out that Karnataka had been producing Raagi (Madiya), Navane (foxtail millet), Saame (little millet), Haraka (Kodo), Kooralu (Browntop millet), Udalu (Barnyard Millet), Baragu (Proso millet), Sajje (pearl millet), and Bili Jola (great millet).
The Prime Minister received a cheerful response from the audience as he mentioned the popular food made of Raagi.
"Who can forget the taste of 'Raagi Mudde' (Raagi balls) and Raagi Roti? This year's budget lays great emphasis on the production of 'Sri Anna', which will greatly help marginal farmers of the drought-prone regions of Karnataka," Modi said.
'Sri'' roughly translates to divine grace and 'Anna' means food grain, especially rice. So, 'Sri Anna' means a food grain which has divine grace.
According to agricultural experts, millets are called 'Sri Dhaanya' in Karnataka because they are not only tasty and rich in nutrition but also carry a lot of medicinal value.