Striking hard and fast at the eating habits of students, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has instructed all the universities and affiliated colleges to take action against the availability of junk food in the campus. In a letter issued on November 10th to the Vice-Chancellors of all the universities, the University Grants Commission made it clear that colleges would have to withdraw junk food and carbonated beverages from college canteens in order to “set new standards for healthy food and make the students live better…”
College were also instructed to culminate student’s health information on Body Mass Index (BMI) and other markers, and spread awareness regarding the ill-effects of junk food via counseling and workshops.
This action was taken by UGC on the advice of Ministry of Woman and Child Development, and followed the example of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) as it banned junk food from all schools earlier this year. And while it might be a benchmark decision to some level, there still remains a question mark on its implementation because,
1.) UGC has so far neither mentioned any date to initiate the implementation or any deadline for the completion of the task. Thus, it is still uncertain that at what level and by when would the college canteens be free of junk food.
Also, there are a few points to take note of, such as,
1.) College canteen’s contract is mostly signed on annual basis by college authorities. The ban on junk food has full potential to create chaos on the basis of canceling and accommodating for the existing contract. It might also fall the fast food tuck-shops in colleges in deep losses.
2.) Junk food is comparatively cheaper than the food high in nutritional values (high nutritional value= high quality= high price). For someone who is residing in a hostel and surviving on a tight budget 30/31 days of the month, this might be a hole in the pocket.
3.) Eating habits are more based on taste and preferences. Firstly, it is totally based on an individual whether a simple ban would be able to affect the taste or not. Secondly, the supply of junk food in campus would fall due to the ban, and you might read an article some months later regarding its black marketing in colleges (where there is a will, there is a way).
Whether this step of UGC would be a hit or failure is for time to tell. For now, go and gulp down as many burgers and fries you can, because well, food is love!