Indian food regulator’s Rs 1000 crore media blitzkrieg to improve ‘food safety’ !!!

The meek justification being offered for this disproportionate funding for publicity is that people have to be made aware about various provisions of the Food Safety Act, 2006.

It appears India’s food regulator has got all its priorities horribly wrong. The regulatory body plans to spend a whopping sum of over Rs1,000 crore just on publicity during the 12th plan period.

The amount the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has sought from the government for publicity related activities is much more than what it plans to spend on its core activities – developing food safety standards, setting up testing labs, surveillance and so on.

Out of Rs6,548 crore for various projects and initiatives planned during the 12th plan period, as much as Rs1,019 has been earmarked just for publicity.

The meek justification being offered for this disproportionate funding for publicity is that people have to be made aware about various provisions of the Food Safety Act, 2006. While detailed rollout schedule and clear deliverables have been shown for various activities, the authority remains vague when it comes to its gigantic media spending plan.

All that the proposal says is ‘awareness generation/ IEC programme would be as per well-thought-out media plan to be undertaken regularly using all forms/formats of publicity having wide reach’.

The Rs1,000 crore media blitzkrieg is expected to result in ‘overall general awareness about food safety rules/ regulations and sensitisation of various stakeholders about food safety issues’.  Rs350 crore under the so-called media plan will be spent for undertaking a ‘comprehensive campaign utilising audio and video and print media for dissemination of messages’. An amount of Rs319 crore has been proposed for publicity utilising ‘non-media vehicles’ such as multi-coloured pamphlets on food safety, hygiene, prevention of food spoilage, use of potable water in cooking etc. Such material will be distributed to schools, vendors and will be displayed at bus and railway stations. Another Rs350 crore would be disbursed to states at the rate of Rs2 crore for every state every year for publicity in local language. (courtesy: Dinesh C. Sharma & MailOnlineIndia)

Buddha discovered Tea

Any Time It’s Tea Time

Chinese mythology has myriads anecdotes about the discoveries of ’Cha’, or what we call tea. One such story portrays Buddha as the discoverer of this aromatic leaf which he found soothing and mind refreshing. So having Indian roots in its inception, tea has managed to enter the day to day life of our country. And in a way tea is among the very few common things in our varied culture. Therefore the recent consideration to making tea our national beverage is only a token of its importance in our lives today.

If we contemplate tea acts as a fellow accompanying us without any reason. It acts as a medium of uniting hearts (credit to college canteen tea), fixing marriages (our typical Indian to be bride serving tea to her future in laws), stress buster (headache remedy by default), a motivator (”I have to study all night need tea!”) and in many other ways. It is a source of creativity, and also gives thrust to any discussion or talk. A delight for winters and a reason to halt during long road journey at road side Dhabas.

Homemade ginger tea is what we need after long tiring day. And thus we notice that this beverage holds a default status in our lives. We love, we hate, we get inspired, we offload our minds, we welcome and we do many such things with the aid of a cup. Even going through the same process of making, tea manages to hold different color, taste and feel each time. Our college canteen-walla makes tea with the least ratio of milk to water, but we ardently demand cup after another and will recollect it for years after we graduate. The cacophony of train’s movement, high pitch “Chai chai chai” piercing our ears and dull looking tea in paper cups is the delight of any journey.

I don’t understand how it took so long to recognize its presence in our lives. When it’s registering the presence in the sub-continent from centuries and it has amalgamated in our lives like our companion, the recognition will neither add nor degrade its ubiquitous reputation. I am not exaggerating but when we sleep with a belief of better tomorrow, this belief is strengthen by tea as we wake up and start our day with it. Thank you, Chai, for being in our lives.

(courtesy: Youth Ki Awaaz & Awanish Shahi)