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Rlys asked not to allow 'bad for health' product ads

The move comes after the railways recently unveiled non-fare revenue (NFR) policy and aims to earn Rs 2,000 crore by allowing trains, level-crossings and areas along the tracks to be used for advertising.

Rlys asked not to allow bad for health product ads
The health ministry has asked the railways not to allow advertisements of products bad for health like high-fat foods, aerated beverages or alcohol and tobacco items, in surrogate or indirect manner, on trains.

The move comes after the railways recently unveiled non-fare revenue (NFR) policy and aims to earn Rs 2,000 crore by allowing trains, level-crossings and areas along the tracks to be used for advertising.

In a letter to Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal, Health secretary C K Mishra said, "Indirect, surrogate or illegal advertisements of alcohol, tobacco products, as well as unhealthy food products that can increase the risk of non communicable diseases (NCDs) is a matter of concern."

He asked the railways not let its assets to be used for advertising products which have negative health impact.

"Any move to further promote products that have negative health externalities will be counter-productive and will scuttle on-going efforts to reduce or regulate consumption of alcohol, tobacco, food containing high fats, sugar and salt (HFSS), sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) including aerated and non-aerated beverages," Mishra wrote in the letter.

He said the health ministry has learnt through media reports that the railways is planning to brand trains and stations to increase revenues.

"Against this background and in view of the high negative externality for public health, it is therefore requested that the assets of Indian Railways are not used to advertise products which have negative health impacts," Mishra said.

The NFR policy envisages various schemes for revenue-yielding activities, including train branding, rail radio scheme, allowing installation of ATMs on platforms and renting out less-crowded platforms across the country for wedding or teaching purposes.

India stands to lose USD 4.58 trillion between 2012-2030 due to NCDs, while Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) alone could account for USD 2.17 trillion economic loss (World Economic Forum and Harvard School of Public Health 2014).
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