New Delhi: Government might have banned the sponsorship of sporting events by tobacco firms, but President Pranab Mukherjee is all set to endorse a tobacco company by attending an award function on Monday at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.

Health activists and health specialists have termed President’s move unconstitutional and violation of Indian laws and international treaties as well.

Rashtrapati Bhavan sources have said that the President will be attending the Sustainability Awards 2012 jointly being organized by CII and ITC.

The CII - ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development is an institution that creates a conducive climate for Indian businesses to attain sustainability goals. The main motto of this award function is to create awareness, promote thought leadership and build capacity to achieve sustainability across a broad spectrum of issues.

Bhavna Mukhopadhyay, Executive Director of Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), said, “President’s presence at the event will definitely glorify the tobcco brand leaving an adverse impact on the anti-tobacco slogans.”

Amal Pushp, director of the National Tobacco Control Programme, said, “It should be noted that in August 2012, the same company was conferred World Business & Development Award 2012 by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Later, the UNDP was forced to apologies publically for its move.”

It should be kept in mind that India is a member of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), hence President’s participation at such events is equivalent to the violation of its guidelines.

Some facts:

India’s 14 percent young population is addicted to smoking.

Over 10 lakh people die due to smoking in India every year .

One person in the world dies every six seconds due to tobacco consumption .

(Mukesh Kejariwal/JPN)

Latest News from India News Desk