UNION HEALTH Minister J P Nadda is set to get the World Health Organization’s (WHO) award for outstanding global leadership in tobacco control. One of the proposers for the award is Dr K S Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), a public-private initiative that was last month barred from getting foreign funds for allegedly using funds for “anti-tobacco lobbying”.
The WHO award is given to governments or individuals who show exceptional zeal in tobacco control. Usually given out in Geneva on World No-Tobacco Day (May 31), it has been decided that the award this time will be given at the regional level by the WHO Southeast Asia regional office. Past winners from India include former Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and Reddy himself.
Nadda will not be in Delhi on Wednesday, so the award may be given at a tobacco control event in June, sources said. Besides Reddy, sources said, Nadda’s name was also proposed by Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), which, like PHFI, had testified in front of the Parliamentary committee looking at the issue of larger tobacco warnings.
Like PHFI, some state branches of VHAI are also facing action for alleged violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. The action against the NGOs — PHFI is the latest of several organisations working on tobacco control that are now facing Home Ministry’s fire — was welcomed by an organisation with ties to the tobacco lobby.
The Federation of All India Farmer Association had put up a hoarding near Nirman Bhawan, which houses the Health Ministry, stating, “We appreciate that government has heard our appeal and taken action against some NGOs…”