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Building a healthy India is the next focus for Modi govt

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders attending a lunch programme in Parliament last December where millet dishes were served to mark 2023 as 'International Year of Millets' (Image courtesy: PIB)

The Centre, as part of the ‘Eat Right’ campaign, will aggressively increase its surveys on street food vendors and other restaurants to ensure basic quality and hygiene standards are not compromised as it aims to build a healthy India. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under the aegis of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, has now decided to amplify the awareness campaign across the country highlighting the need to maintain hygiene standards along with nutrition.

The food regulator will hold more than 100 “melas” across the country showcasing the need ‘Eat Right.’

“We want to focus on creating awareness on the importance of eating right, eating nutritious food. We have started engaging with street food associations as well,” G Kamala Vardhana Rao, CEO, FSSAI told India Narrative. Rao, who was earlier serving as Managing Director of Indian Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (ITDC), took charge of FSSAI in December last year.

“We must have more knowledge about the food we eat outside our homes, we must know the nutritional benefits and composition of the same,” he said, adding that nutritional security is key to building a healthy nation.

As many as 1,44,345 samples were analysed in 2021-22 of which more than 32,900 were found to be non-compliant with food safety standards. In 2020-21 the sampled number was 1,07,829. Cases both civil and criminal have been filed against them depending on the discrepancies.

Rao said that food sampling exercise and inspection across the country will further increase in the coming months. Sampling of milk, oil and ghee has also been expanded.

‘The Eat Right’ campaign was launched by FSSAI in July, 2018 with the aim to improve public health in the country and combat negative nutritional trends to fight lifestyle diseases. The food industry, public health professionals, civil society and consumer organizations, influencers and celebrities came together on a common platform and pledged to take concrete steps to amplify the movement.

Meanwhile the Narendra Modi government has launched a holistic nutritional scheme –Poshan– to address the malnutrition problem among underprivileged children.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has taken a host of measures that facilitate and inculcate good eating habits and nutrition though Poshan. The ministry also issued guidelines integrating nutrition support programme – Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan.

Also read: Millets & Organics 2023 International Trade Fair kicked off in Bengaluru