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Not dithering on pictorial warning, says Union Health minister J P Nadda

"There is no dithering on the part of the ministry and no question of succumbing of any pressure," said Nadda.

By: Express News Service | Shimla | Published: April 17, 2015 7:26:53 pm
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Union Health minister J P Nadda on Friday said health ministry was awaiting recommendation of Parliamentary Committee on subordinate legislation to take a final call on implementation of larger pictorial warnings on tobacco products.

“The committee is consulting all the stake holders and had also sought views of the ministry, which have been provided. There is no dithering on the part of the ministry and no question of succumbing of any pressure. We will wait for the recommendations of the committee and take a decision,” he added in reply to a specific question on the issue.

Nadda, who was in Shimla for a meeting with Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on centrally funded road projects said the role of the Parliamentary Committee was different.

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Few people on the committee may have their own views of the issue, which can’t be accepted as a general rule. It’s known that the committee was not appointed by the health ministry.

The minister instead claimed that the health ministry was working on a larger agenda to create awareness against smoking. “We trying to reach-out school children and catch them young. It could also be made part of the school education and then launch a major programme,” he added.

Nadda denied about reports Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directions issued to the ministry on implementing large pictorial warnings. “I have been given responsibility of the health ministry. We are taking care of the issue. Prime Minister has not issued any direction to the ministry,” he added.

Asked about cuts imposed on health grants after setting-up of Niti Aayog, Nadda said, “It’s a wrong assumption. There is no cut on grants for centrally funded health schemes and flagship programmes.”

Rather, he said, funding to the states on health schemes have been made flexible. States showing better utilisation and impact, will get more funds but those who has not utilising the funds/grants, will be questioned. I have myself spoken to some Chief Ministers advising them to pull-up officials for not sending Utilisation certificates.

The minister said the ministry was working on a proposal for creating a regulatory mechanism for private medical labs, which have mushroomed -up in every town and streets.

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