Withdraw order mandating pictorial warning on beedi bundles: RSS-affiliated union to govt

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NEW DELHI: RSS-affiliated trade union

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh

(BMS) on Monday asked the government to withdraw an April 13 order that makes

pictorial warnings mandatory

on beedi bundles.
It also said that vexed with continuous onslaughts by the government, the

beedi industry

has decided to close the entire operations from September 1, 2020.
The union said that the government is coming up with such rules without taking into consideration the livelihood of millions of workers, saying there is a need to separate beedi from other tobacco products and frame new laws accordingly.
The BMS said it demands the present order of April 13, 2020, be withdrawn, which makes a mandatory display of pictorial warning on each beedi bundle which a consumer purchases," the union said in a statement.
It said that

the Health Ministry

's latest notifications on pictorial warning on all types of packages will be the biggest blow to the beedi industry and over 4.5 crore people are dependent on beedi and tendu leaf industry.
Entire rural and small industries in the country are witnessing huge job losses, particularly among rural areas and unorganised sector workers, under crisis due to unprecedented pandemic, it said.
In such a situation, this is the most inappropriate time for the government to amend the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA), it added.
"The Health Ministry is bringing all such immature rules without considering basic livelihood of millions of workers depending on beedi industry. So BMS strongly demands that the government should separate beedi from other tobacco products and formulate new policies accordingly," it added.
The union demanded to formulate a comprehensive policy and to form an inter-ministry committee comprising labour, health, agriculture, commerce, finance, forest, tribal affairs, home affairs, women and child welfare and skill development.
This committee should suggest an action plan within a month after tripartite consultations, it added.
"Lack of comprehensive policy on beedi is the real issue. Almost seven ministries are dealing with this subject. Each ministry is thinking differently in their angle. Ultimately, it is the workforce which becomes the victim of the wrong and lopsided policies of central government," it said.
The beedi manufacturing industry is a traditional agro-forest-based industry in India.
It's a highly labour intensive and predominantly unorganised.
The beedi industry is one of the largest employers of workers in India, after agriculture, handloom and construction sectors.
The majority are uneducated rural folk engaged in beedi making.
All these sections will affect due to lopsided and hasty decisions of the Government of India, the BMS said.

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