Right To Information (RTI) Act gives hope to youth in implementing tobacco control

[Read the nine RTI applications] City youth found hope in using Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005, in stressing for proper implementation of government health laws including the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003. This group was part of the ongoing Rights and Responsibilities Training Camp (25-31 May 2011) at Professor (Dr) Rama Kant’s centre at C-2211, C-block crossing, Indira Nagar, Lucknow.

Jatin Arora, Sarvesh Kumar Shukla, Sachidananda Pandey, Nadeem Salmani, Anand Pathak, Dileep Sharma, Rahul Kumar and Ritesh filed nine RTI applications in UP Government’s health department demanding information on why there is a tobacco retail shop within 100 yards of educational institutions, who is responsible to enforce tobacco laws in Lucknow, what action should be taken against that officer for not enforcing tobacco law in the city, and by when the tobacco shops be removed from within 100 yards of any educational institution. Another RTI application was filed on why children and youth below 18 years of age can buy or sell tobacco when it is prohibited, what action has been taken, why not these children are going to schools in the era of Right to Education (RTE). They also filed RTI applications in Nagar Nigam Lucknow demanding information on why garbage is dumped in their localities, who is responsible to remove it, what action will be taken and by when garbage be removed.

“Using RTI is an empowering experience because we can have our say on weak or poor implementations of health and development laws in our city” said a youth participant.

The Cigarette and other tobacco products Act (COTPA) 2003 is one of the most comprehensive tobacco control laws in the world, and India has also ratified the global tobacco treaty (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – FCTC). We can use RTI Act, 2005, to demand enforcement of tobacco control and public health laws.

The Rights and Responsibilities Training Camp was organized jointly by Citizens for Healthy Lucknow campaign, Indian Society Against Smoking, Asha Parivar, Abhinav Bharat Foundation (ABF) and CNS.

Published in:
Citizen News Service (CNS), India/Thailand
CNS Tobacco Control Initiative, India
Elites TV News, California, USA