Two Lok Sabha members opposed the idea of expanding the size of cancer warnings on tobacco products, on 27 April. The members said the pictorial warning is adversely affecting farmers andbeedi workers and endangering their livelihood.
Congress' R Dhruvanarayana and Sharad Bansode suggested that the Parliamentary Committee's recommendation that the warnings be restricted to 50 per cent, should be adhered to.
The issue was raised during Zero Hour, when Bansode claimed that if "you don't minimise (the warning size), all beedi workers would be jobless".
He also urged PM Modi to address their concerns.
Dhruvanarayana said the Parliamentary Committee recommendation was not implemented by the government, which increased the warning's size from 40% to 85%.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu noted that public opinion was growing in favour of discouraging smoking. He spoke about public opinion and experts' warning against tobacco use and said the increase in the pictorial warning size was one step in that direction.
However, he added that they would have to evolve a consensus while noting that farmers, especially in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, cultivated tobacco. The Government alone cannot do it, he said. "We have to strongly encourage farmers to grow alternative crops. We have to find some solution," he said.
-With inputs from PTI