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Road safety

The Con­sumer Voice team or­gan­ised a press meet on the top­ics ‘Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles Amend­ment Bill 2017: Tough Jour­ney – the Road Ahead’ and ‘Voices of Road Crash Vic­tims and Sup­port from Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment’, on be­half of the Na­tional Coali­tion of So­cial & Con­sumer Or­gan­i­sa­tions work­ing on road safety in In­dia. The ob­jec­tive of the pro­gramme, which took place on 28 Fe­bru­ary 2018 at Press Club of In­dia, New Delhi, was to ad­dress the is­sue of alarm­ing road-crash deaths and in­juries, and In­dia’s com­mit­ment to re­duce deaths on road by 50 per cent as per the UN Brasilia Con­ven­tion. The Govern­ment of In­dia has com­mit­ted to bring com­pre­hen­sive amend­ments through The Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles (Amend­ment) Bill, 2017. The Bill was passed by Lok Sabha in April 2017 but is pend­ing in Ra­jya Sabha (now listed for the up­com­ing ses­sion of par­lia­ment).

A coali­tion of road safety or­gan­i­sa­tions, CUTS (Con­sumer Unity & Trust So­ci­ety), CAG (Cit­i­zen

Con­sumer and Civic Ac­tion Group) and Parisar along with VOICE urged the govern­ment to get the Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles Amend­ment Bill passed in the up­com­ing ses­sion of par­lia­ment. Road-safety ex­perts have de­clared the pas­sage of the Bill, which seeks to make key amend­ments to the Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles Act of 1988, as be­ing crit­i­cal to im­prove the dis­mal road-safety record in the coun­try.

The meet was at­tended by vic­tims and sur­vivors of road crashes – in­clud­ing Ashutosh Soti, Kavita Tholiya, Kavita Chauhan, DK Sachdeva, and Dor­ris Fran­cis. They raised their voices in sup­port of the pas­sage of the Bill.

Dr Satya­narayan Jatiya, mem­ber of par­lia­ment, Ra­jya Sabha, and a se­nior leader of BJP, also came for­ward to sup­port the ini­tia­tive and strongly favoured the pas­sage of the Bill. Os­car Fer­nan­des, MP, Ra­jya Sabha, and for­mer union trans­port min­is­ter, said that each and ev­ery life is im­por­tant and the pas­sage of the Bill was cru­cial to safe­guard our fu­ture.

To­bacco ini­tia­tive

Team Con­sumer Voice or­gan­ised a press meet in col­lab­o­ra­tion with state part­ner Con­sumers As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia at Chen­nai, Tamil Nadu, on 27 Fe­bru­ary 2018. The main ob­jec­tive was to sen­si­tise the me­dia and dis­cuss the most press­ing is­sues in to­bacco in­ter­ven­tion, along with how me­dia could play an ef­fec­tive role in to­bacco con­trol.

Among the as­pects that were dis­cussed were Cig­a­rettes and Other To­bacco Prod­ucts Act (COTPA), 2003, and its var­i­ous pro­vi­sions, ac­ces­si­bil­ity of to­bacco prod­ucts to the youth, and how ef­fec­tive enforcemen­t might help in to­bacco con­trol. In­dia has the sec­ond largest num­ber of cur­rent to­bacco users (275 mil­lion) in the world – of these, at least 10 lakh are dy­ing each year from to­bacco-re­lated dis­eases. In Tamil Nadu, around 35 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion use some kind of to­bacco prod­uct and the num­ber is ris­ing an­nu­ally.

Rinki Sharma, head of projects & CSR, Con­sumer Voice, and Amar­jeet Singh, ad­vi­sor – le­gal & projects, along with Nir­mala De­sikan, chair­man, Con­sumers As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia, in­ter­acted with the me­di­a­per­sons.

World Con­fer­ence on To­bacco or Health – Cape Town, South Africa

Recog­nis­ing to­bacco as a global is­sue of con­cern, the theme of the con­fer­ence was ‘Unit­ing the World for a To­bacco-Free Gen­er­a­tion’. At­tend­ing the con­fer­ence were WHO rep­re­sen­ta­tives, phil­an­thropic or­gan­i­sa­tions like Bloomberg, re­searchers, aca­demi­cians, non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions, civil so­ci­ety, sci­en­tists, health­care pro­fes­sion­als, govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and pub­lic of­fi­cials work­ing on all as­pects of to­bacco con­trol, gather­ing at the venue from more than 100 coun­tries. The event, held on 7–9 March 2018, was or­gan­ised by In­ter­na­tional Union against Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and Lung Dis­ease.

Rep­re­sent­ing Con­sumer Voice was its COO Ashim Sanyal, who spoke about the cur­rent sce­nario of to­bacco con­sump­tion and tax­a­tion in In­dia. He also men­tioned about chal­lenges be­ing faced in the coun­try on to­bacco con­trol and nar­rated a few suc­cess sto­ries of Con­sumer Voice’s in­ter­ven­tion.

The high­lights of the con­fer­ence were the ple­nary speak­ers, sym­posia, work­shops and post-grad­u­ate cour­ses on the many as­pects of the to­bacco epi­demic.

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