Health Ministry alone cannot decide ban on sale of gutkha:Azad

NEW DELHI, May 4: Amid demands for ban on sale of gutkha, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today said he alone could not take a decision on the matter as it required consultation with the Finance Ministry.
“I respect your sentiments. I agree, there should be some restriction, but I cannot take the decision alone. I will have to consult the Finance Ministry,” Azad told the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.
Several BJP members demanded that the Centre should take cue from Madhya Pradesh and ban the manufacture and sale of gutkha. Madhya Pradesh has banned the manufacture and sale of gutkha from April this year.
Azad said the government has also launched awareness campaigns on the ill effects of smoking and chewing tobacco.
“We have purchased prime time slots on 30 radio station and 30 regional Doordarshan channels for awareness campaigns on health issues,” he said.
To a question, Azad said he has not received any significant report regarding corruption in the National Rural Health Mission in Madhya Pradesh.
Azad said he had asked the Comptroller and Auditor General to audit NRHM schemes in various states.
The Minister said that a Central Procurement Agency, to purchase medicines, will be established by the year end.
To a question, Azad said that Bihar would get medicines for treatment of Kala Azar in two to three months. (PTI)