1000-1030: Meet and greet time.

1030-1130 [DETAILED PROGRAMME ATTACHED]: The Honourable Minister for Textiles and Women and Child Development, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, will inaugurate the Symposium and deliver the First National Poshan Talk.

The Talk will be followed by a PANEL DISCUSSION:

Making Maternal and Child Nutrition Matter: Turning Poshan Abhiyaan Into A Mass Movement.

MODERATOR: Kaveree Bamzai, Former Editor, India Today, and Author of No Regrets

PANELISTS: H.E. Freddy Svane, Ambassador of Denmark in India; Priya Paul, Chairman and Founding Director, South Asian Women Foundation India, and Chairperson, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels; Shaleen Meelu, Nutrition Adviser, Birmingham City Council, and Consultant, Birmingham India Nutrition Initiative (BINDI); Naina Pachnanda, AGNii/Invest India; Parul Ohri, Editor, Momspresso; Child Champion, Save The Children.

1130-1145: Champions Ka Chaupal: Children in Action – Transforming Knowledge to Change Nutrition Behaviour. By five ‘Child Champions’ from Delhi government schools adopted by Save the Children. Presenter: Pragya Vats, Head of Campaigns, Save the Children, India.

1145-1150: PRESENTER: Ambassador Banashri Bose Harrison will introduce the theme and significance of the next session. She will then invite H.E. Freddy Svane, Ambassador of Denmark in India, to the dais to introduce the Danish participant, Line Rise Nielsen, and explain the work she is doing with the City of Copenhagen back home.

1150-1200: Ambassador Freddy Svane‘s introduction and short address.


Rural-Urban Fair Trade Models — From Copenhagen to Guntur, to Umang at Uttarakhand, and to the ‘Zero Waste’ Store at Dilli Haat.

Moderator and Lead Presenter: Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). Panelists: Dr Bharati Chaturvedi, Founder, Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group; Line Rise Nielsen, Board Member, CPH Foodspace, Copenhagen; Kalyan Paul, Executive Director, Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation; Abhijeet Dabhole, Bhoomi Ka; Anurag Gupta, Independent Urban Environmental Planner and Policy Researcher.

1230-1235: Ambassador Banashri Bose Harrison will introduce the subject of the Ideas Exchange and the Keynote Speaker, Mr Pawan Agarwal.

1235-1305: IDEAS EXCHANGE: Mr Pawan Agarwal, CEO, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), assesses the impact of the Eat Right India in conversation with Kavita Devgan, Nutritionist and Best-Selling Author, and Meghana Narayan, Co-Founder, Slurrp Farm.

1305-1400: LUNCH presented by Slurrp Farm.

1400-1405: PRESENTER: Sanjoo Malhotra will welcome Mr Amitabh Kant to the dais after mentioning the support he has extended to Tasting India Symposium over the past three years.

1405-1425: Special Address by Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog.

1425-1430: Sanjoo Malhotra thanks Mr Kant, requests Meghana Narayan and Shauravi Malik to hand him over his gift hamper, and welcomes the next panel after briefly talking about the importance of the subject of their discussion.

1430-1500: PANEL DISCUSSION: Going Mission Mode – Why India is the Ideal Hub for Plant-Based and Cultivated Alternatives to Meat.

Moderator: Varun Deshpande, Managing Director, Good Food Institute-India.

Panelists: Kannan Krishnamoorthy, Renowned Molecular Biologist and Co-Founder / Chief of Technology, Upstablish; Pawan Dhar, Dean, School of Biotechnology, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Ashutosh Upadhyaya, Head of the Department of Food Science and Technology, NIFTEM (Sonepat); Kavya Dashora, Centre for Rural Development and Technology, IIT-Delhi.

1500-1505: Sanjoo Malhotra will introduce the next four panelists, who are going to steer the knowledge hour, and welcome Prof. Ganesh Bagler to the dais.

1505-1520: KNOWLEDGE HOUR:

Harnessing Big Data for Food Smart Cities. Special Address: Dr Ganesh Bagler, Associate Professor, Centre for Computational Gastronomy, IIIT-Delhi.

1520-1535: KNOWLEDGE HOUR:

Why Smart Cities Need to Treat Food Like Medicine.

Special Address: Rajendra Ratnoo, IAS, Joint Secretary, Dept. of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Government of India.

1535-1550: KNOWLEDGE HOUR:

Climate Smart, Food Smart: The Dhun Model of Urban Development.

Special Address: Manvendra Singh Shekawat, Hotelier and Climate Change Activist.

1550-1605: KNOWLEDGE HOUR:

Street Food Hubs in Food Smart Cities: A Culinary Tourism Model

Special Address: Sangeeta Singh, Head, Street Food Programme, National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI).

1605-1620: TEA / COFFEE BREAK

1620-1645: IDEAS EXCHANGE:

The Future of MilletsJoAnna Kane-Potaka, Executive Director, Smart Food, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), will present the topic and engage in a conversation with Dr B. Dayakar Rao, Principal Scientist, Indian Institute of Millet Research (IIMR), and CEO, Nutrihub; Meghana Narayan, Co-Founder, Slurrp Farm; Pallavi Updhyaya, Founder, Millets for Health; and Sangeeta Khanna, Food Consultant and Author of Pakodas: The Snack for All Seasons.

1620-1645: JoAnna Kane-Potaka will release the results of the first scientific study of millets in school mid-day meals conducted by ICRISAT with Akshaya Patra.


Re-Engineering the Urban Marketplace: Going Local, Seasonal and Farmer Friendly.

MODERATOR: Sourish Bhattacharyya, Co-Founder and Director, Tasting India Symposium.

PANELISTS: Sneh Yadav, Delhi Organic Farmers Market; Meenu Nageswaran, The Earth Collective; Ashish Gupta, Jaivik Haat/Gram Disha Trust; Neha Upadhyaya, Social Entrepreneur and Founder, Guna Organics; L. Nitin Chordia, Founder, CocoaTrait; Radhika Chopra Anandan, Founder, No. 3 Clive Road; Bharat Singhal, Founder, Bili Hu.

1720-1730: Vote of Thanks + Announcement about the Himalayan Food Festival in Kolkata by Sanjoo Malhotra.


India is headed for an urban explosion. Together with China and Nigeria, it is expected to account for 37 per cent of the projected growth of the world’s urban population between 2014 and 2050. Of this growth, India will contribute the most — 404 million new urban dwellers, compared with China’s 292 million and Nigeria’s 212 million. And if the projections turn out to be right, India’s urban population will most likely nearly double from 410 million in 2010 to 814 million by 2050.

According to estimates by the United Nations and McKinsey:

  • By 2025, 46 per cent of Indians will live in cities with more than 1 million people.
  • By 2030, the number of cities with populations of more than 1 million will grow relentlessly from 42 to 68.
  • Four of India’s fastest-growing cities — Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad — with 5 to 10 million inhabitants at present, are projected to become megacities in the coming years, raising the total from three to seven by 2030.

QUESTIONS THAT DEMAND IMMEDIATE ATTENTION: The imminent urban explosion not only raises infrastructure issues, but also the most basic questions of survival:

  • Do our cities have the infrastructure to ensure all urban dwellers have equitable access to foods essential for their nutritional well-being?
  • Can climate-smart agriculture help thwart the threat of an urban water famine? (The gravity of this question is underlined by the NITI Aayog’s recent estimate that 21 major cities, home to more than 100 million people, are likely to run out of groundwater in the foreseeable future.)
  • Do we have a plan and the technology in place to recycle the food waste generated by our prolifically expanding urban centres back into productive use?
  • Will the school system be able to provide children from economically disadvantaged families the nutrition they require for their physical and intellectual growth?
  • Above all, can our cities develop equitable markets that our farmers can access seamlessly and get a fair price for their produce?

Even as the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, accelerates the 100 Smart Cities Project, the most ambitious state-led urban renewal intervention in Independent India, the importance of these urban centres being ‘Food Smart’ as well cannot be under-emphasised. Experts predict that by 2050, cities will consume 60 per cent more food than the current levels. Smart cities therefore must:

  • Encourage fair trade and inclusive growth by designating multiple areas for organic farmers’ markets so that farmers engaging in chemical-free agriculture can sidestep middlemen and get just returns for their labour, and the citizens are assured of an equitable access to healthy, safe, culturally appropriate and sustainably produced food.
  • Maintain an efficient cold chain to prevent primary food waste, which is a severe problem in India: 30 per cent of all grains, vegetables and fruit produced in the country becomes unfit for consumption because of a poor transport infrastructure and the absence of a viable cold chain.
  • Have robust support systems in place to promote urban agriculture on rooftops and in school backyards to increase the availability of sustainably produced food.
  • Develop systems and technologies for the conversion of food waste to commercially viable yet clean electricity, biodiesel, organic fertilisers, cattle feed and bio-char.
  • Actively promote Indian ‘superfoods’ such as millets, amaranth and makhana (fox nuts) among citizens, starting with mid-day school meals, to ensure diversity in their diets.
  • Continually work towards three primary objectives, which are in sync with the Sustainable  Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations: reducing the impact of climate change; de-stressing dwindling water supplies; and contributing to the uplift of smallholder farmers
  • Continually work towards three primary objectives, which are in sync with the Sustainable  Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations: reducing the impact of climate change; de-stressing dwindling water supplies; and contributing to the uplift of smallholder farmers

Food Smart Cities, we believe, can drive India’s progress towards a circular food economy, where all food consumed will be locally and seasonally grown; where  the existing ‘take-make-dispose’ system of production will make way for one founded on the principles of sustainable development, which will both create new jobs and ensure good health and dignity for all citizens; and where farmers will be reintegrated into the urban ecosystem.