New Delhi, Delhi, India
Seeks Establishment of a 3000 Crore Fund for Tobacco Farmers and Prominent Pictorial and Statuary Warnings on Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products in Multiple Indian Languages
One of India’s leading Non Government organization Centre for Transforming India had circulated a detailed memorandum for “Tobacco Free India” among the prominent citizens of India to weed off the menace of Tobacco from India . The 8 point Memorandum titled ” Memorandum for Support For Improving the Conditions of People Suffering From Tobacco” calls for massive changes and revitalization of India’s Anti-Tobacco Initiatives especially those that address the needs of tobacco farmers by establishing a Tobacco curing fund to the tune of Rs 3000 Crores in initial and 2% of the industry profits therein, display of prominent pictorial and statuary warning on cigarettes sticks and packs in multiple Indian languages, massive increase in no sales zone for cigarettes and other tobacco products and making the educational institutions of all kinds a completely no tobacco areas.
The Memorandum which is first of its kind in India is aimed at addressing issues of employment transition of cultivating tobacco and selling hazardous products , development of a along term integrated healthcare system across India and addressing issues of greater consumer protection and knowledge along with a massive enhancements in no sale areas.
— Every year Tobacco causes 10 lac deaths creating 8 lac widows and around 15 lac orphans.
— After China India is the fastest growing tobacco consumer market in the world
— India has one of the weakest anti-tobacco regimes across the world
— Lung Is Commonest Out Of All Tobacco Related Cancers In Men
Commenting on the Memorandum, Pankaj Sharma, Chief Trustee, Centre for Transforming India stated, “While India today is the fastest growing markets of Tobacco products there is a clear absence of any significant policy framework to address the ills of tobacco products. The tobacco industry has failed to take any significant steps in addressing the needs for tobacco sufferers and the government system is marred by poor and insignificant anti-tobacco policies and an equally poor implementation framework. He further stated that not only consumption of Tobacco results in largest number of cancer deaths in India but the farmers and sellers of tobacco products are exploited extremely by the industry and its business practices.
He further stated that the memorandum is unique in many senses as it aims to gradually addressing the needs for healthy India while balancing critical issues of employment, citizen’s health , pushing the industry to invest greater in research and development of less harmful products coupled with a policy framework which has been developed taking into consideration the practicalities of on ground situations currently in vogue.
The memorandum has now been circulated to Government functionaries, Members of Parliament, leading citizens, religious and educational leaders for a proposed implementation and has already found support with young leaders like Milind Deora, Member of Parliament from South Mumbai coming in support of it. The support base for the memorandum is indeed spreading fast with each passing day. It is to be pointed out here that Mr. Deora has been a champion of anti-tobacco has in past written to Prime Minister on the issue of prominent pictorial and statuary warning on Cigarette and other tobacco products and other important steps that might be needed for weeding the menace of Tobacco from India.
Key Features of the Memorandum
1. Establishment of a Tobacco Curing Fund of Rs 3000 Crores by the Industry and 2% of the industry profit thereafter every year.
Proposed Fund Usage:
• 30% for Cancer Research
• 40% for Benefit of Farmers and providing them support for crop transition .
• 29% for Tobacco cessation, control endeavors including establishing Cancer cure centers across India and providing support to other subsidiary industries dependent on the tobacco products, secondary and territory employment sector( small tobacco product sellers)
• 1% for advertising and awareness endeavors aimed at responsible consumption preventing teens/youths from Tobacco products, etc
2. At least 5% of the expenses every year by Tobacco Companies for development of new product with lesser and lesser harmful products by entire
3. Prominent statutory warning ( In Hindi, English and regional languages)) on every cigarette stick.
4. Prominent statutory warning both pictorial and written (In Hindi, English and regional) on every point of sale of Tobacco Products.
5. Prominent pictorial and statutory warning on packs both in Hindi and regional language apart from the current English Language
6. No sale of cigarettes at public places (definition of Public Places to be taken from Supreme Court rulings).
7. No sale of tobacco products in circumference of 500 meters from educational, religious institutions of any kind including higher education institutions and hospitals. Distance to be calculated from external periphery of the institution.
8. Mandatory educational Institutions/ campuses to be 100% tobacco free.
ABOUT CENTRE FOR TRANSFORMING INDIA
Center for Transforming India is a registered not for profit trust formed with the vision to effectively create social harmony and further the growth of India. Promoted by a professional whose previous stint includes being consultant with Govt. of India and with industry body NASSCOM. The importance of work is now recognized globally with Indian government, international think tanks and peer organizations taking cue from our work.
Its Chief Trustee, Mr Pankaj Sharma has recently been invited to the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program by the US Government for his public policy work and shares his experience with leading government luminaries, students and academia of global universities like Stanford & Rice and leading US corporations on role of developing economies in the future economic landscape.
The work of the organization and Mr. Sharma personally have been widely quoted in national and international media like Business Week, Fortune, New York Times, Washington Post, Khalij Times, Times( London), Reuters, AFP, Gulf News, La Monde( France),India Today, Times of India, Hindustan Times, CNN-IBN, NDTV, etc. He is also an active participant in the Global Executive Forum and the Opinion Leader’s Panel of the Economist Intelligence Unit.