The University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed all varsities and higher education institutions to ban sale of junk food in their campuses.
On Wednesday, 23rd August 2018, the University Grants Commission (UGC) issued a notice all the Vice Chancellors of the universities under it to ban junk food in their premises. The letter states, “Banning junk food in colleges would set new standards for healthy food and make the students live better, and learn better and also reduce the obesity levels in young learners, thus preventing lifestyle diseases which have a direct link with excessive weight”.
According to the Press Trust of India, UGC secretary Jaspal S. Sandhu said that the Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry wanted to issue instructions against availability and sale of junk food in Higher Educational Institutions. This is done to ensure strict adherence to the advisory issued in November 2016 for banning junk food in colleges. “You are requested to ensure strict adherence to the advisory. Create awareness among the younger generation who are vulnerable,” the circular read.
DU Beat contacted a few students and teachers regarding the same. Aryan Pandla, a student from Delhi School of Journalism says, “Eating junk food is not unhealthy. But the excess of it creates issues like obesity. A ban should not have been imposed by the UGC but instead a regulatory measure should have been taken. UGC should promote healthy food like daal-chawal, but banning on junk food is not the solution. The students will still have access to junk food because of prevalence of small food outlets near the college.” Ms.Nazish Khan, a professor in Bharti College says, “It’s a welcome move by the UGC and should have been implemented long ago. However, it’s never too late. There might be some problems with the execution but nonetheless, it will bring a healthy living.”
A same move was made by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) two years ago. It had asked all its affiliated schools to ensure that food items like chips, carbonated drinks, ready-to-eat noodles, pizzas, burgers and confectionery items like chocolates, candies are not available in the school canteens. Schools were also asked to inspect lunch boxes of students, create awareness about nutritious food and regularly monitor students’ health. The circular was released following a report by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on consumption of foods high in fat, salt and sugar and promotion of healthy snacks in schools.
Further, the board also advised all schools affiliated to it to try that no such food items are available around 200 meters of the school premises.
Feature Image Credits: Hindustan Times