World Food Day: Centre launches Swasth Bharat Yatra to raise awareness about eating right

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday launched a national campaign 'Swasth Bharat Yatra' on the World Food Day under which a pan-India cycle rally is being organised to sensitise people about eating safe food and being healthy, FSSAI chief executive Pawan Kumar Agarwal said.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is leading this campaign where about 7,500 cyclists are expected to participate in over 18,000-kilometre relay cycle rally travelling across six tracks through almost every state and Union Territory over 100 days to propagate a powerful message 'Eat Right India'. The cyclathon will culminate in the national capital on 27 January.

"We are not mindful of wheat we are eating. What we eat is important. Therefore, we want consumers to demand safe and healthy food which will force food businesses to manufacture only those products," Agarwal told reporters here.

School children at the launch of Swasth Bharat Yatra on Tuesday. Twitter/@FSSAIIndia

School children at the launch of Swasth Bharat Yatra on Tuesday. Twitter/@FSSAIIndia

He said the campaign has been launched by the central government, in association with states, from 16 October on occasion of the World Food Day. The FSSAI is leading this campaign to create consumer awareness about eating safe and nutritious food for becoming healthy.

The 'Swasth Bharat Yatra' was launched simultaneously at Leh (in Jammu & Kashmir), Panaji (Goa), Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), Puducherry, Ranchi ( Jharkhand) and Agarthala (Tripura).

From 16 October to 27 January, 2019, on every single day, 150 volunteer cyclists and a convoy including the 'Eat Right Mobile Unit' and 'Mobile Food Testing Unit' would travel across the country to build awareness around food safety, combating food adulteration and healthy diets.

"In all, over 7,500 volunteer cyclists would stop at 2,000-plus locations and conduct in-city and en-route activities and 'Prabhat Pheris' to propagate the message of Eat Right India," the food safety regulator said.

Agarwal said there is sufficient availability of food in the country and barring few crops India is self sufficient. The government is also making available foods at a cheaper rates to people through a public distribution system and other welfare schemes with an annual subsidy of about Rs 2 lakh crore.

"We do not have any issue with availability and affordability of food. But there is an issue with quality and safety of food that we eat," he said, adding that the regulator has taken a number of initiatives in the last few years to nudge consumers as well as food businesses towards addressing this matter.

Elaborating on the campaign, Agarwal said this would not only mobilise the masses but also create a large pool of local community to sustain this movement.

Asked about India's 103rd rank in 'Global Hunger Index' out of 119 countries, Agarwal said there is a need to analyse the parameters on which the countries have been ranked in this study.


Updated Date: Oct 16, 2018 20:59 PM