Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare today presided over an inter-ministerial meet with FSSAI and senior officials of various ministries to build a ‘Whole of Government’ approach to achieve ‘Vision 2050’ of the eat Right India Movement.
The Union Minister took note of the fact the economic cost of food borne diseases in India is estimated to be a whooping $15 billion. While Wasting (21%), Underweighting (36%), Stunting (38%) are common among children, with 50% of women and children suffering from anaemia; prevalence of Obesity has doubled in the decade (2005-2015) from 9.3% to 18.6% among males and from 12.6% to 20.7% among females with a corresponding rise in deaths due to NCDs. Thus, to move from Food Security to Nutrition Security, these line ministries are expected to come together to form a common platform to determine common goals and strategy and synergize their actions accordingly.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan taking note on the alarming statistics said, “‘Eat Right India’ and ‘Fit India’ Movement will prove to be game changers in the health sector of the country. The results will be visible for all of us in the coming ten years. A systems-based approach can ensure food safety along with their secure availability, promoting a healthy diet along with taking care of the environment through sustainable practices.”
Noting that 50% of India’s 1.3 billion does not meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance for critical micronutrients, he championed the move for an approach of ‘Food Security to Nutrition Security’, “The different Ministries can make critical interventions in primary production, food processing, their regulation with respect to wastage and issues of hygiene and end-consumption. Only then will ‘Eat Right India’ become a movement in its true sense.”
Representatives of various ministries presented their views and actions taken on the critical areas of convergence with the goals of the movement.
Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, Arun Singhal, CEO FSSAI, Ram Mohan Mishra, Secretary (Women & Child Development), Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary (Animal Husbandry & Dairying), Ms. Alka Bhargava, Addl. Secretary (Agriculture), Nidhi Khare, Addl. Secretary (Consumer Affairs), Dr. Sunil Kumar, DGHS and joint secretaries of the ministries of Food, Fisheries, MSME were also present in the event.