The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) on Monday found fault with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s recent notification on new pictorial warnings on tobacco product packs, including beedis. The BMS, which is affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, argued that the beedi-rolling industry should be exempt from carrying the new warnings, and that the warnings in accordance with the 2009 order be allowed to continue. The BMS believes the new packaging rules would add to the cost burden of the beedi and tendu leaf industry, which is the source of livelihood for over 45 million people. At a time when job losses are widespread because of Covid-19, the ministry was bringing in “immature rules”, it said. The beedi industry has decided to shut operations from September 1 as a protest, and the BMS would launch demonstrations to support the industry’s demand, it said.
To enforce the Covid-19 safety protocols, the Uttar Pradesh government has announced slapping a fine of Rs 100 on those found not wearing the mask in public places. Now, the state has integrated the livelihood of women self-help groups (SHGs) engaged in producing organic face masks with the process of imposing the penalty. According to UP State Rural Livelihood Mission Director Sujeet Kumar, the SHGs or the local civil society organisations will sell two masks for Rs 10 to such offenders on the spot when they are served the penalty ticket. The scheme is proposed to be rolled out by the Mission with the help of district-level police in the state. Besides, the Mission is taking steps to supply face masks at other vantage points and kiosks in different cities to support the SHGs. So far, such groups have supplied nearly 10,000 masks in UP.
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