Fit India Campaign is an approach to develop healthy ‘human resource’ for our country.
As an initiative undertaken by PM Narendra Modi, ‘Fit India Campaign’ was launched on 29th August 2018 (also celebrated as National Sports Day as well as the birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand) at Indira Gandhi Stadium, New Delhi. Modi stated that ‘fitness is a prerequisite for a happy life’. It is a campaign at macro level in our country whereas spreading its roots from the micro level only, that is, an individual in particular is expected to be fit and healthy and to undertake various physical activities and sports to remain fit.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi added ‘Yoga is a symbol of universal aspiration for health and well-being. It is health assurance in zero budget’. Baba Ramdev says ‘Negative thoughts are the cause of mental illnesses’. George Eliot rightly quoted that ‘History repeats itself’ and so is the case with ‘Fit India Campaign’. ‘Fit India’ was once initiated by Suparno Satpathy in 1993 and was embraced as a company in 2000. Being fit does not really mean only the fitness of body, but it refers to fitness of mind, body and soul. It is not just about physical fitness but also about mental fitness of an individual.
This campaign is being managed, coordinated and directed by various ministries including Sports Ministry, Ministries of Information and Broadcasting, Human Resource Development, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development, Health and Youth Affairs. A special committee was formed to advice the government also. It is comprised of various government officials, some of the members from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), national sports federations, different private bodies and also fitness promoters. The official website was also made as ‘fitindia.gov.in’.
Now, it is not only an endeavour initiated by the PM, but many other organizations have also started working in this regard. It has lead to the creation and coming up of various start-ups like CureFit, Healthifyme, GOQii which are prominent in guiding and motivating people to stay fit, active and healthy by telling them certain exercises, sharing diet routine and conducting expert sessions also. Various actors and celebrities and social icons like Hritik Roshan, Madhuri Dixit, and Ratan Tata are also associated with such start-ups as brand ambassadors, which encouraged more people to stay fit and healthy in life and follow a routine.
Various different organizations like- Cognizant, Godrej, Accenture, Infosys, American Express have also tried on launching their own mobile applications or tried collaborations with external providers to provide essential fitness services to their employees. Commemorating the Fit India Campaign, various stars like Akshay Kumar, Shilpa Shetty and Milind Soman became brand ambassadors of different campaigns associated with it. It gained support as well as popularity due the efforts undertaken by all related stakeholders.
Taking this campaign at grass root level, ‘Fit India Grading’ was announced by PM Narendra Modi in November 2019 in which schools were to be ranked on the basis of fitness levels respectively. According to this, eligible schools can apply for ranking and if gets selected, they will be allowed to use Fit India Logo and Flag. Also CBSE in partnership with Fit India, made several advancements at the school level and organized a Fit India Week in third week of November 2019 in which several activities were arranged and days were given different names like- Magical Monday, Tempting Tuesday, Winner’s Wednesday, Thursday Teamwork, Friday Fitness Quiz and Sportier Saturday respectively.
This campaign has become a nation’s campaign, involving people, schools, companies, organizations, role models, as well as government on a large scale. Evidence showed that on 6th September 2019, the current Lok Sabha speaker, Omprakash Krishna Birla announced and conducted a ‘Fit India Session’ in the Parliament complex and recommended all the MPs to follow and practice this movement in their respective constituencies.
University Grants Commission (UGC) also issued circular in the beginning of the year 2020 stating about opening of fitness clubs, expert sessions and talks by health experts in the field of higher education. ‘Fitness Clubs’ should be part of every higher education institution such that more and more fitness activities, sports events, sensitization can take place effectively. Apart from this, UGC added that higher institutions would also be ranked and given star rating (from zero to five) and given extra weightage of around 5% in National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). ‘Fit India Campaign’ is not just a campaign but also a way of life for people. Feeling motivated by this campaign, Lt. Gen Alok Singh Kler, an army commander cycled 14 hours from Delhi to Jaipur to take charge. However, a study by Indian Council of Medical Research-India Diabetes (ICMR-INDIAB) showed that only 3% women are actively involved in physical activities.
PM Modi added that with technology, physical activities are reduced. Students, adults and elderly are not taking proper care of their physical fitness and mental fitness. Therefore, this campaign will inspire the people of the country to stay physically fit and to think about their wellbeing. This campaign is all about people to become actively involved in sports culture, to fight themselves for their health issues by staying fit and healthy, to involve themselves in a state of calmness by doing yoga and meditation. It is an approach to develop healthy ‘human resource’ for our country. COVID-19 is a current situation, which calls for the active support by people of the country as well as other neighboring nations to stay fit and fight back general ailments effectively. COVID-19 can be combated if we comprehend the rationale behind this campaign, as it is right time to think, to realize and then to react accordingly. ‘Swasth vyakti, swasth parivar aur swasth samaj, yahi naye Bharat ko shresth Bharat banane ka raasta hai’ – pledge by PM Modi on National Sports Day 2019.
The author is research scholar in Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar and is an intern at Academics4nation.