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.
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.