PM Narendra Modi not long ago, lamented the huge amounts of food wastage that happens in India, in his monthly radio programme called Mann Ki Baat. But now it seems as if the Modi govt. is on track to solve this problem.
In its first attempt to solve the issue of food wastage, the ruling NDA or National Democratic Alliance will be working to fix portion sizes of dishes that are served by mainly big restaurants and star hotels.
As of now, the focus is only on these big establishments and smaller ones like dhabas and all are not included in this new ruling.
The ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution and its Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan are busy with creating a questionnaire which will ask hotels and restaurants to reveal what are the sizes of the dishes and how much is being served to the patron.
It should be noted that as quoted by Paswan, “We are just asking them to specify how many chapatis or idlis or chicken pieces you will serve (in a plate),” the Modi govt. does not intend to limit the amount of food being served. But instead they just want to limit the wastage of food that is happening.
A very noble and good initiative indeed, even much needed, considering that it is a very real fact that a large amount of food wastage is happening in India in today’s time.
But is telling how much restaurants can they serve to their customers, really the best way to go about it?
Personally I don’t agree with this and here are a couple of reasons as to why:
1. Where Exactly Is The Food Wastage Coming From?
Did you know that as of 2016 as recorded by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) a humongous 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted on a global level, with India and China considered to be big contributors to this number.
And in that, a good 40% of the food that is produced in India is wasted even before it reaches the kitchen.
Leave aside the faults by restaurants and hotels in not managing their food properly, and you will realise that of the entire wastage of food that occurs, restaurants and hotels make up a very small portion of it, say about 15 to 20%.
Also, it is not like the restaurants are not doing anything at all and just dumping all the food down the drain. Donating food, having food controllers that check the quality of food and more are a few methods employed.
The main problem here are not the hotels but the poor supply chain management and the abysmal state of cold storage facility in India.
I believe Modi govt. should be focusing on this area rather than the last sector in food which are the restaurants.
2. Has Modi Govt. Already Run Out Of Ideas To Curb Food Wastage?
I am not denying in the least that restaurants and hotels do not contribute to food wastage at all.
But at the same time, I also believe that there are better and efficient initiatives that can be taken which also have a high probability of working and making actual difference.
Something like the UK food waste supermarket program which takes surplus food from eateries and supermarkets and then sells it to the people at a pay as you wish basis.
Or perhaps something like what the French govt. has done by creating a law that mandates supermarkets and other places that serve food to donate or give away the leftover food to charity.
These are just somethings that Modi govt. can take inspiration from, instead of what they are choosing to focus on.
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