“Swasth Bharat Yatra – Healthy India Rally” is an All India relay cycling event organised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (fssai). With a mission to create public awareness on food nutrition and healthy eating habits, the fssai has arranged a Pan India event through which cyclist are being mobilised from all across the states as volunteers to communicate one unified message ‘Eat Right India’ – Eat Healthy, Eat Safe, Eat Fortified and ensure there is No Wastage of Food.
The high decibel on-ground campaign is reaching out to the general masses highlighting the benefits of practicing dietary discipline, adopting fitness rituals in their daily routine and following a holistic lifestyle. Experts from various fields have extended their support wholeheartedly and come out in large numbers to support this cause. The on-ground activations include close group presentations, showcasing of short films, interactive talks by the expert panel and local government representatives all connecting with the citizens at various touch points. The broad agenda of health and well being is given high impetus with focus on specific issues such as food fortification, iodine consumption, carbohydrates, fats, proteins and fibre intake. The campaign insists on maintaining an equitable consumption of solid and liquid foods with a mix of right proportion of nutrients that shall make up a healthy and strong human body.
Aside from delivering a message on diet and food, the campaign also lays emphasis on taking up physical activities. The fitness and nutritional panel recommends people to break away from mundane style of living and getting outdoors. And kudos to the authorities for picking up ‘Cycling’ as a critical part of their campaign. By executing a nationwide bicycle rally especially at a time when the world is talking about global warming and reducing carbon emissions, India takes a lead with this remarkable initiative. Considering the size of our country both in area and population, this ambitious nationwide campaign becomes even more exceptional. It sends out a clear message that India can walk the talk.
A bicycle is a more economical option for mobility and can effectively reduce motorized congestion of crowded cities leaving no impact on the environment. Aligned to this, very few are aware that India recently hosted the First Global Mobility Summit this September called the ‘MOVE Summit’. The Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi in his speech spelled out that congestion free mobility remains crucial to keep in check the economic and environmental cost of progress. Therefore, to meet the vision of New India, building smart cities shall include last mile connectivity by unlocking potential of effective ways of getting around. Surprisingly, the MOVE summit also saw ‘bicycle commute’ receiving equal attention vis a vis other travel choices.
Hence, by connecting the dots, fssai through Swasth Bharat Yatra has successfully made the right move by keeping ‘Cycling’ synonymous to healthy and sustainable living.
The Caravan of Swasth Bharat Yatra arrived in Thane on eighth of november and entered Mumbai on the tenth. The subsequent blog details out the proceedings of the event held in Mumbai and my experience in particular.
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai