An ET report says that soon, the government will stop them from from using their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) social outreach activities to earn goodwill.
This might prohibit the companies from advertising and marketing tobacco products. ITC, India's largest cigarette maker had spent about Rs 80 crore in funding CSR activities in 2013.
On November 25, the union ministry recommended a ban on sale of loose cigarettes and an increase in the minimum age of the person to whom tobacco product can be solved. The recommendation is yet another attempt by the government to strengthen the tobacco sale laws in the country.
Health Minister J.P. Nadda, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, said the health ministry has accepted the recommendations of the expert committee formed by the ministry to review Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA).
Now that the government is mulling over banning the companies from undertaking CSR activities, it's speculated that more reforms are in the line.
The government might also prohibit restaurants, hotels and airports from making separate smoking areas. A ban on promotion of tobacco products on media platforms such as mobile phones and the Internet is also in the queue, says the ET report.
It is known that the anti-tobacco legislation is being amended to make it compliant with World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) - a treaty that lays down a set of universal standards to limit the use of tobacco worldwide, says the report.