Health Ministry urged to allow tobacco farmers in FCTC

New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) With an aim to curb the rising illicit trade on tobacco products, Business Chambers ASSOCHAM and FICCI have urged the Health Ministry to allow the participation of the legal tobacco farmers of India in the upcoming Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

According to FICCI’s CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy), it has been working concertedly on the issues of fighting the menace of illicit trade across various sectors including in tobacco products.

” For CoP7 to be able to chart out a cohesive and rational public policy on issues pertaining to the sector, it is imperative that there is sufficient representations from all relevant stake holders at the meet,” said the letter by FICCI to the Health Ministry.

The letters by FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) and ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers Of Commerce And Industry Of India) comes two days after Confederation of India Industry (CII) wrote to the Health Ministry with a similar demand.

The 7th Conference of Parties (COP 7) of FCTC is being hosted in Noida between November 7-12. As per the agenda, strict tobacco control policies are to be formulated during the conference.

ASSOCHAM in a separate letter said that the presence of the tobacco farmers was important because tobacco alone provides employment to 4.6 crore people in the country.

“Tobacco has been one of the important cash crop which makes the farmers self reliant,” said the letter from ASSOCHAM.

Health Secretary C.K. Mishra on November 3 said that the the FCTC conference, which is the world’s biggest conference on tobacco control policies is a very critical event that will give India an opportunity to showcase what the government has done and learned from other countries.

“The conference will lead into Delhi Declaration for supporting measures for tobacco control,” Mishra said.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is a special invited speaker at the conference.