New Delhi:

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has launched an initiative aimed at spreading awareness about nutrition and locally available nutritious food, fruits, and vegetables, a statement said on Wednesday.

Vijnana Bharati (Vibha), 'Global Indian Scientists and Technocrats' (GIST) Forum, Vigyan Prasar, and Pravasi Bharatiya Academic and Scientific Sampark (PRABHASS) have come together to launch mission ''Aahaar Kranti'' with the motto of 'Uttam Aahaar-Uttam Vichaar' (Good Diet-Good Cognition).

Launching the initiative on Tuesday, Vardhan said, ''Today, when the country is reeling under the onslaught of a pandemic like COVID-19, a balanced diet serves as a special tool to reduce the impact of the pandemic. At such a time, the need to create awareness about the importance of a balanced diet has become more vital than ever before.''

The statement said the ''Aahaar Kranti'' movement is designed to address the peculiar problem being faced by India and the world — hunger and diseases in abundance.

Studies estimate that India produces as much as two times the amount of calories it consumes. However, many in the country are still malnourished. The root cause of this strange phenomenon is the lack of nutritional awareness, it said.

The movement proposes to address the problem by working to rouse the people to the values and richness of India's traditional diet, to the healing powers of local fruits and vegetables, and to the miracles of a balanced diet, it added.

''Aahaar Kranti'' will renew the focus on nutritionally balanced diets replete in locally sourced fruits and vegetables.

While Vijnana Bharati (Vibha) and GIST Forum initiated the programme, several other agencies have also joined hands and agreed to pool in their expertise and resources, the statement said.

Besides various central and state government ministries and agencies, the Department of Science and Technology's autonomous body Vigyan Prasar and PRABHASS are a part of this collaborative effort. More organisations will join the mission as it proceeds, it said.