The union health ministry had put forth a proposal to introduce pictorial warnings covering 85% of packaging for all tobacco products. This rule was to come into effect from April 1, 2015. However, the health ministry has put on hold its decision after the parliamentary panel urged it to wait till it submits its final report.
Dilip Gandhi, the head of the parliamentary panel, and one of its members Shyam Charan Gupta has triggered a row by saying that there was no Indian study to link tobacco with cancer. Countering claims by two BJP parliamentarians, union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said, "Tobacco is directly linked to cancer and the central government intended to go ahead with pictorial warnings on tobacco products."
Minister Nadda told the Lok Sabha, "The ministry was awaiting recommendations of the parliamentary committee on subordinate legislation to take a final call on enforcing larger pictorial warnings on tobacco products. Cigarette packets imported into the country would also carry pictorial warnings. It will be the same warning. We are crystal clear about it, we will go forward. The ministry is creating an awareness against smoking and reaching out to school children."
Opposition members have attacked the government over the statements of the two BJP MPs.