Kolkata: Come Thursday, and don’t be surprised to find a senior bureaucrat bringing his own tea, avoiding ‘VIP lifts’ or taking the stairs to reach his cabin.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi all set to launch the ‘Fit India Movement’ on August 29, the Human Resource Development (HRD) and Sports ministries have already started working on these ‘healthy tips’, some of which were suggested by the Prime Minister in a recently held presentation on the event.
Modi will launch the movement from the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi. The programme will be telecast live on Doordarshan. During the launch, the PM will also administer a ‘fitness pledge’. RS Julaniya, Union Secretary (sports), told News18, “The whole idea was conceptualised by our Prime Minister. During the presentation, he gave us simple tips that can make us healthy in our day-to-day lives.”
He said, “I would like to clarify that it is not a campaign, but a movement. We want to suggest to people that bring simple ideas of exercise in daily life to stay fit. You don’t need a gym to keep yourself fit. You can stay fit by following simple rules like climbing stairs and playing. We are hopeful that there will be maximum participation from all the states.”
While stressing on behavioural change, Julaniya said, “Lifestyle diseases are leading us towards abnormal blood pressure, anxiety, depression and obesity. Our population is ageing and we need to migrate towards a healthier population. For that, we need people to do some kind of physical activities on a regular basis. Staying fit is not rocket science. You just have to do some kind of exercise for 30 minutes daily.”
Under the ‘Fit India Movement’, people across the country will be encouraged/advised to choose their local icons, someone who is aged but fit and healthy. The Prime Minister will launch a ‘Fitness Logo’ and ‘Fitness Pledge’ that reads, “I promise to myself that I will devote time for physical activity and sports every day and I will encourage my family members and neighbours to be physically fit and make India a fit nation.”
Indian classical and folk dances would also be encouraged under the movement. “This will help in sharing our culture. Also, these are good forms of physical activities. There are many forms of dances in our country, including the ones performed during marriages, birthdays and other festivals. We are trying to link these dance forms with the Fit India Movement. There will be a dedicated social media platform where we will put out stories of local icons who are fit and healthy,” Julaniya said.
All the states have been requested to make necessary arrangements for live telecast of the event in all schools and encourage maximum participation of students and teachers in taking the ‘fitness pledge’.
A fitness enthusiast, the Prime Minister’s mornings begin with a walk inspired by the five elements of nature — ‘prithvi’, ‘jal’, ‘agni’, ‘vayu’ and ‘aakash’. In 2018, he had participated in the ‘Hum Fit to India Fit’ campaign launched by Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and accepted a fitness challenge from cricketer Virat Kohli.
India has already improved its ranking on a global healthcare access and quality (HAQ) index (based on 32 causes of death which could be prevented through proper medical care) from 153 in 1990 to 145 in 2016. However, it still ranks behind Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Brazil, Russia and South Africa and well below the global average. At a time when the global HAQ index average is 54.4, India’s scored 41.2 (2016). This was 24.7 in 1990. The HAQ index was created on a study titled Global Burden of Disease.