Millennium Post

Panel for reducing size of warnings on tobacco products

Members of a parliamentary panel, looking into the vexed issue of pictorial warnings on tobacco products, are understood to have favoured drastic reduction in size of such warnings to 50 per cent from the proposed 85 per cent, terming it “too harsh”.

Ahead of the April 1 deadline for increasing pictorial warnings on cigarette and beedi products from the present 40 to 85 per cent, the panel members suggested that it should be 50 per cent instead, as “the proposed graphic warnings have potential to severely affect Indian farmers and companies”.

“The Committee is of the considered view that in order to have a balanced approach, the warning on cigarette packets should be 50 per cent on both sides of the principal display area instead of 85 per cent of the area, as it will be too harsh and will result in flooding of illicit cigarettes in the country,” the report is learnt to have suggested.

Highly-placed sources said though a number of committee members was not present, those present have authorised chairman Dilip Gandhi to finalise the report.

Since the Aadhar Bill was discussed in the Lok Sabha at the time, some members urged the committee chairman not to rush through the report and postpone the meeting instead. The report is likely to be submitted in Parliament in a day or two, the sources added.
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