The Union Health Ministry, in partnership with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, has made a noteworthy and inventive request to States and Union Territories to establish 100 food streets in 100 districts throughout the country.
Initiative being pursued on trial run basis
The Ministry of Health has stated that this undertaking is being pursued as a trial run to set a precedent for the establishment of similar food streets nationwide, with the objective of promoting safe and hygienic food practices among businesses and communities. The overarching goal of this project is to mitigate foodborne illnesses and enhance overall health outcomes.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Manoj Joshi, in a letter to states, have highlighted that "Easy access to safe and hygienic food is vital for the good health of citizens. Safe food practices not only promote eat right campaign and food safety but will improve the hygiene credibility of local food businesses, boost local employment, tourism and in turn, the economy. It also leads to a cleaner and greener environment." As per the Ministry of Health's statement, the National Health Mission (NHM) in conjunction with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs will spearhead this exceptional initiative, while the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will provide technical support. The financial support in the form of Rs.1 crore per food street/district will be extended to States/UTs to bridge crucial gaps. The scheme entails the opening of 100 food streets in 100 districts across the country (the list of which is provided below). This support will be provided under the National Health Mission (NHM) in a 60:40 or 90:10 ratio, subject to the condition that the food streets adhere to the standard branding guidelines outlined by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Authorities to undertake measures for smooth run
To guarantee the integration of financial resources and physical infrastructure, Municipal Corporations, Development Authorities, and District Collectors at the state level will undertake significant measures. Additional measures to enhance food safety standards include the training of food handlers, independent third-party audits, and the certification of Eat Right Street Food Hubs, as well as the implementation of the 'SOP for Modernisation of Food Streets'.
Initiatives such as the "Support to Urban Street Vendors (SUSV)" program, which is part of the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAYNULM) under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, have also been implemented.
According to the statement, States and Union Territories can also organize training programs for street vendors to educate them on topics such as food safety, hygiene maintenance, and waste disposal.