16 Sep :The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss has said that more resources will be chanalled for tobacco control and for this purpose money collected through surcharge on tobacco products is proposed to be used for tobacco control activities such as awareness campaigns, alternate cropping, establishment of labs, alternative employment for tobacco growers etc.
Every year more than Rs. 500 crore is collected through the surcharge. The Minister proposes to write to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister for using the corpus for anti-tobacco activities in the country as a dedicated non-lapsable pool. The Minister was speaking after inaugurating the Regional Workshop on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products organized by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and WHO, Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) here today.
Dr. Ramadoss said that South-East Asia Region is home for one fourth of humanity and is focus of attention for tobacco companies. Countries of the region have been coordinating on various international health fora. Dr. Ramadoss assured that India will give its 100% to strengthen global anti-tobacco measures. Referring to the illicit trade for tobacco products, the Minister pointed out that illicit trade in tobacco product not only undermines the efforts of the Government to raise taxes and investing the same in relevant social programmes but it also hampers the control of tobacco supply chain by making available cheaper tobacco products.
The Minister pointed out that WHO – Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) provides a potent mechanism to anchor tobacco control measures in the country. India has strongly supported the WHO, FCTC from the very beginning and the current Workshop is reviewing the text of the Draft Protocol on Convention on Illicit Trade in tobacco products issued by the Chairman of Inter-Governmental Negotiating Body (INB). The Protocol will be further discussed by INB in third week of October in Geneva.
In a reply to the question regarding the arrangements for blast victims in Delhi the Minister assured that all the arrangements will be made for the proper treatment of the victims and no shortage will be allowed to come in the way of their speedy recovery. With regard to requirements for Bihar floods the Minister informed that whatever asked for by the State Government has been supplied. The Central Government is helping the State with its surveillance network to monitor the outbreak of epidemics.
WHO Regional Director for South East Asia Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang also addressed the gathering.