In a significant and innovative move, the Union Health Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has requested states and Union Territories to develop 100 food streets in 100 districts across the country.
This initiative is being taken up as a pilot project to create an example for other such streets to come up across the country for ensuring hygienic and safe food practices.
The aim of this project is to encourage safe and healthy food practices among food businesses and community members, thus, reducing foodborne illnesses and improving overall health outcomes.
In a letter to states, Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary and Shri Manoj Joshi, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs Secretary 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 hygiene credibility of local food businesses, boost local employment, tourism and in turn, economy. It also leads to a cleaner and greener environment.”
Street foods have traditionally been an integral part of Indian society and are present all across the country. They represent the rich local tradition of cuisine. Street foods not only provide daily diets at affordable prices to millions but also provide direct employment to a large number of people and also support the tourism industry.
This unique initiative will be implemented through National Health Mission (NHM) in convergence with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs & with technical support from FSSAI.
The financial assistance for the initiative in the form of Rs 1 crore per food street/district will be given to fill up critical gaps. 100 such food streets will be opened up in 100 districts across the country. This assistance will be provided under NHM in the ratio of 60:40 or 90:10 with the condition that standard branding of these food streets will be done as per FSSAI guidelines.
Municipal Corporations/Development Authorities/ District Collectors at the state level will take major initiatives to ensure convergence in terms of financial resources and physical infrastructure. Various other initiatives such as training of food handlers, independent third-party audits, and certification of Eat Right Street Food Hubs 'SOP for Modernisation of Food Streets', have been taken to enhance food safety standards. Schemes like "Support to Urban Street Vendors (SUSV)", a component of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana- National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAYNULM), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs have also been taken up.