Provision adequate good quality protein to about 80 per cent of the population which exists at sub-optimal levels of protein is a major task facing the country. As a result one highlight of the current agricultural production policy is a drive towards higher production of pulses. At present production is 11.80 million tons, while the estimated demand for 1982 is at least 15 million tones.
Pulses are easily cultivated and give a large yield of protein; on an average 20 percent. They also contribute other nutrients such as carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins to the diet. They are a rich source of vitamins of the B-complex group except for riboflavin. Sprouting helps to produce Vitamin C in them. They are richer than most cereals in calcium and contain a fair amount for Iron.
Unlike cereals, vitamin losses on account of milling and cooking are much less. They have a high digestibility, about 85 to 95 per cent after cooking, a process which improves their palatability and nutritive value. Cooking removes indigestible substances present in the raw pulse and also destroys trypsin inhibitors which interfere with protein utilization. Based on an article by C.N.N. Murthy in HOME SCIENCE, July 1979.