New Delhi: The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, joined the NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India’s 12-hour telethon – Lakshya – Sampoorn Swasthya Ka, on October 2, where he emphasised the importance of individual health and eating organic food for achieving a healthier lifestyle.
Talking about his personal fitness journey, Mr. Gadkari discussed how he combated the coronavirus infection twice by exercising and eating healthy. He said that exercising on a daily basis helped him to avoid fatigue and boosted his body’s energy supply.
I do not feel sluggish or tired easily now. I encourage people around me to set their regime and attain a healthier lifestyle, he said.
The Union Minister urged citizens to put their health first, followed by their profession and wealth. He added, “This way you can reserve your energy for all the important work and engagements.”
Mr. Gadkari also promoted the message of adopting organic farming to attain a healthier lifestyle. He said the intake of organic food had dual benefits of retaining the goodness of antioxidants and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
I have been doing organic farming and eating healthy has helped me become a fitter person. I have gone from 135 kg to 90 kg. I am now more active; earlier I used to be able to give speeches for 45 minutes and then feel tired, but now I feel more active and can work for longer hours, Mr Gadkari said.
Talking about his Ministry’s work, Mr. Gadkari said that his departments have been the most performing of all the government departments. The Ministry has shifted its focus to constructing the highways and roads, keeping sustainability in mind.
Here are some key takeaways from all that Mr. Gadkari discussed during the 12-hour Telethon:
- Focusing on personal health: Individual health plays a significant role in protecting oneself from contracting infectious diseases like COVID-19. Therefore, every Indian must prioritise their personal health and hygiene, the Minister said.
- Organic farming: Mr. Gadkari spoke of the long-term benefits of organic farming on the agro-ecosystem. He said it was the best approach to produce food while establishing an ecological balance and consuming such food helped in achieving a better overall health.
- Solid waste management: The Minister said that solid waste management was important to preserve the environment from the toxic effects of inorganic and biodegradable elements present in waste.
- Green hydrogen: With the aim of reducing carbon footprints, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry will use solar power to produce green hydrogen. Green hydrogen has significantly lower carbon emissions than grey hydrogen.
- ‘Waste to wealth’: The concept will be implemented in all modes of transport, including vehicles, buses, and aeroplanes, Mr. Gadkari said.
- Mitigating road accidents: The Minister spoke about the worrying rate of road accidents in India. He said that nearly 60 per cent of the fatalities reported in India are due to road accidents, and the maximum number of victims fall in the age group of 18 to 34.
- Mr. Gadkari said the department was working to reduce the number of road accident cases and requested the cooperation of various agencies to reduce accidents and increase road safety.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can be