Tamil Nadu wins Best State Award
The FSSAI initiated Swasth Bharat Yatra- a cyclotron that began more than 100 days ago culminated on 29 January 2019 at a grand finale in New Delhi. The Swasth Bharat Yatra or cycle yatra was flagged off on 16th October 2018 on World Food Day from six different locations which are Leh (Jammu & Kashmir), Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), Puducherry, Kolkata (Bengal), Panaji (Goa), & Agartala (Tripura). The cycle yatra draws inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi’s Salt March or Dandi Satyagraha, wherein he led the country towards freedom from British colonial rule through his tireless yatras. The Concluding Ceremony of the Swasth Bharat Yatra was held at Central Park, Rajiv Chowk on 29th January 2019 with Hon’ble Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Shri Choubey as Chief Guest and many other dignitaries. Led by the FSSAI, under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Swasth Bharat Yatra is a collaborative effort of citizens, industry, social and professional organizations and other partners.
Eat Right India Movement
TheSwasth Bharat Yatra is part of FSSAI’s ‘Eat Right India’ movement. This Movement’ was launched by the FSSAI in July 2018 to counter the growing incidents of lifestyle diseases in India. The main principles that the ‘Eat Right India’ movement aims for are ‘Eat Healthy’, ‘Eat Safe’ and Eat Fortified so as to encourage citizens to improve their health and well-being. The ‘Eat Right India’ movement, is a one-of-a-kind, pan-India, public health revolution which aims to create a sustainable culture and habit of safe and healthy diets by promoting individual awareness, collective action, strengthening institutional systems and fostering partnerships and the Swasth Bharat Yatra cyclists took this message to the public as they cycled through all the States and Union Territories in India.
With more than 10 lakh participants and 2.5 crore people reached, the Swasth Bharat Yatra has made ‘Eat Right India’ a people’s movement. The goal of this Yatra was achieved through engagement activities and events in more than 2,100 locations along the Yatra route and the creation of over 21,000, local, community ‘Eat Right Champions’ who will continue to sustain this movement in the future. The Swasth Bharat Yatra began from six different locations on six different tracks and in which more than 10,000 volunteer cyclists covered over 20,000 km across 36 States and UTs spreading the message of ‘Eat Safe, Eat Healthy and Eat Fortified’.
Best Performing States
The Swasth Bharat Yatra witnessed the enthusiastic participation from all states and UTs.The tremendous effort of the states was recognized through an Awards Ceremony at the GrandFinale in New Delhi. Tamil Nadu was declared the ‘Best State Overall’ for its exemplary participation. Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra have adjudged the Best States with a population above 3 crores. Punjab, Goa, and Delhi were recognized as the Best States having a population less than 3 crores. Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand were given special awards for their participation despite their hilly and difficult terrain. As a result of hurricane ‘Titli’, the route in West Bengal and Odisha had to be diverted through Bihar at the last moment. Despite the hurricane, Bihar managed all the events quite efficiently and co-ordinated them very well for which it received a special mention. Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli also left a mark on Swasth Bharat Yatra even though these union territories got only one day for city activation. They organized all the events very impressively. Puducherry was the starting point for track 4. Although the cycles couldn’t reach there on time, still commendable efforts were made to have the grand opening of Swasth Bharat Yatra.
Best Performing Cities
The best performing Cities were also recognized region-wise. Notably, Karbi Anglong, Assam, a very tiny hilly place saw the participation of almost every resident in the yatra. In Jabalpur, MP, a record-breaking 1000 cyclists participated. Indore, MP had the largest of ‘Prabhat Pheri’ with more than 3000 participants. Bahragora, a small tribal town saw huge participation, particularly the musical flute band by the girls of Kasturba Vidhyalaya, which was noteworthy. Last but not least, specially-abled cyclists were also honoured for their participation during the yatra, which served as an inspiration to all.
Several Associations, especially NCC, NSS, and Nehru Yuva Kendra, were recognized and honoured for their commendable effort and enthusiastic participation in spreading the message of ‘Eat Right’. Feeding India, No Food Waste, Mera Parivar, Biodiesel Association of India and Vatsalya Foundation, Jaipur also contributed significantly towards popularising the yatra. Professional Associations such as Indian Medical Association (IMA),Association of Food Scientists and Technologists of India (AFSTI), Indian Dietetic Association(IDA), Nutrition Society of India (NSI), were recognized for bringing credibility and weight to the message of Eat Right through their professional expertise, experience and engagement with the community. Industry Associations such as CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, NRAI, ICC, RAI, AIFPA, FHRAI, and regional Hotel and Restaurant Associations were felicitated for providing tremendous logistical support in hosting the cyclists wherever they went. Many corporates including both food and non-food businesses extended support through donations and amplification of key messages for which they were lauded. Development Partners such as Tata Trusts, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Nutrition International (NI), PATH, World Food Programme(WFP) and World Bank were also honoured for their support and contribution.
Eat Right Creativity Challenge
To engage with every section of the society, particularly the youth, the Eat Right Creativity
Challenge was conducted as part of the Eat Right India Movement. This included a national level poster-making, wall-art and digital art competition for school and college students and professionals to unleash their creativity for a public health cause. The themes of the Eat Right Movement were to be depicted through posters, wall art, and digital creatives. An award was also presented to the Eat Right Champion School. The themes for these competitions were
- Gandhiji and his thoughts on food, nutrition, and cleanliness
- Healthy and diverse diets, particularly balanced diets with less fat, salt and sugar so as to encourage children to try new foods
- Safe food with a focus on food hygiene, sanitation, and safety
- Fortified food to address serious micronutrient deficiencies
- No food-waste
The themes of these competitions are based on the key messages of Eating Right to bring about social and behavioral change through art. So far, an overwhelming response from schools all over the country has been received in all the categories. Over 75,000 students from more than 3600 registered schools have actively participated in on-the-spot poster making the competition. About 150 walls of various States have been painted with the Eat Right messages under the wall-art competition. The digital-art category, which was open for all, received more than 800 entries that included videos, short stories, creatives, and jingles, showcasing the talent of the youth. Entries have come from all over the country with the highest numbers from Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajasthan.
Food Commissioner Smt P. Amudha has shown incredible leadership in the State of Tamil Nadu where more than 2,500 posters from over 2,000 schools in the State were received. At the Concluding Ceremony, up to three winners were awarded in each sub-category, with 31 cash prizes in all. Padmashree Paresh Maity has graciously agreed to provide an art
workshop for all the winners. Implementation partners Health Set Go, The Smart Pro foundation, McMillan, Lady Irwin College, and FRAC were recognized for their support.
Eat Right Start-up Awards
Eat Right Start-Up Awards, as part of the Eat Right Movement, were instituted to encourage entrepreneurs in the food ecosystem. The categories for the awards were as follows
Innovative Solutions for Safer Food including Food Testing
Eat Right Awards were also presented to individuals in categories like Young Chef and Media Influencer. FSSAI gave away cash prizes, certificate of recognition and other prizes like FSSAI Buddy. There were an overwhelming 126 applications that were received from which a winner in each of the four categories was chosen at the Concluding Ceremony to receive a cash prize of INR 50,000. Shortlisted applicants will be mentored by an FSSAI-Buddy for a year.
FSSAI Social Innovations
Several social innovations by FSSAI around building an enabling environment in the food safety ecosystem were showcased and celebrated on 28th January 2019, on the eve of the concluding ceremony. These initiatives were highlighted in each state during the Swasth Bharat Yatraincluded
- RUCO, (an initiative for safeguarding the health and conserving energy through an ecosystem for collecting and converting unhealthy used cooking oil into biodiesel)
- Clean Street Food (to provide safe and hygienic street food experience to citizens across India)
- Hygiene + Rating (an initiative for empowering consumers to make informed choices by rating food safety and hygiene standards in food service establishments)
- Save Food, Share Food, Share Joy, (a campaign to curb food waste and promote the donation of surplus food to fight hunger.)
This event was organized to take stock of what has happened so far, recognize partners and shed light on the way forward for each of these initiatives. After India’s first Clean Street Food Hub at Kankaria Lake, Ahmedabad in Association with FDA, Gujarat, three more locations were declared as potential clean Street Food Hubs by FSSAI. These are Urban Chowk Ahmedabad and Gopi Talav Surat from Gujarat and 56 Dukaan, Indore from Madhya Pradesh. Hygiene Rating Certificates were awarded to 22 FBOs for early adoption of the Rating Scheme. A new campaign ‘A Small Gesture: A Big Difference’-relating to food waste in social gatherings was launched under Save Food, Share Food, Share Joy during which 20 food recovery agencies were present. Three FBOs from Gujarat and Mumbai were awarded the RUCO emblem for repurposing used cooking oil. Authorized Aggregators for used-cooking oil collection were recognized. Several biodiesels manufactures took a pledge to join the initiative.
Increase in Food Safety Awareness
The Eat Right India movement, particularly the Swasth Bharat Yatra have been instrumental in galvanizing the food safety network in all the states. Food safety and nutrition have now been brought prominently into public consciousness and Food Safety Commissioners are geared up to address these issues, reach out to people through numerous channels. State-level committees have been reactivated to take this movement forward at the district and sub-district level in the coming months. Hon’ble PM, Shri Narendra Modi, endorsed the Eat Right India movement and SwasthBharat Yatra and encouraged everyone, especially children to join this movement in his last ‘ManKi Baat’ episode of 2018. He applauded FSSAI’s efforts to go beyond its role as a regulator towards building mass awareness around safe and healthy diets. Going by the tremendous energy and response from all concerned, the Eat Right India movement is definitely slated to change the way India eats.
The FSSAI sees tremendous potential in all these initiatives that will encourage consumers, children and adults as well as food businesses towards addressing the issues of healthy and safe eating. Food safety and healthy diets are critical in the context of India’s high burden of foodborne diseases, under-nutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and a growing incidence of obesity and non-communicable diseases.