India Intelligence Report

   Central Tobacco Authority Being Planned

  • Government, consumers, NGO Representation

  • Create awareness of dangers of tobacco

  • Process for Banning Smoking in films

Federal Minister of Health Anbumani Ramdoss said that a Central Tobacco Authority (CTA) with unprecedented powers to implement the provisions of the Tobacco Act is being planned and revealed in the next couple of months. The authority will have representatives of the Government, consumers, NGOs, and anti-tobacco activists on its board and will investigate provisions of the Act to explore its effectiveness and propose change to the rules or introduce amendments.

Ramdoss said that CTA will also generate awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco and will also control a tobacco-testing laboratory. He also said that state-level authorities will also be set up for implementation, supervision and monitoring. Ramdoss said "It is essential to set up such an authority because the Tobacco Act now is not implemented at all. For instance, smoking in restaurants and hotels, except in designated zones, is completely prohibited. That provision is followed more in violation."

The Health Ministry has also worked with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry modus operandi and process that filmmakers must follow to get Censor Board clearance so smoking is not encouraged by films in India. He said that any movie with a smoking scene will automatically get an adult certification and the onus is on the filmmaker to show why smoking is necessary for the movie. If the filmmakers are able to show cause, then they would have to insert warnings at the start and end of the movie and scrolls.

The Health Ministry is also proposing an alternative plans for the rehabilitation of tobacco farmers. They will be encouraged to cease cultivation of tobacco and take up medicinal plants. A Medicinal Plant Processing Zones (MPPZ) will be set up with the Commerce Ministry, and these will provide seeds, know-how and implements to farmers, buy back the products and sell them in foreign or domestic markets.

Ramdoss said "It is estimated that by 2050, medicinal plants will become a five trillion dollar industry. With the MPPZs in place, medicinal plants will become cash crops."