Government is not considering banning sale of Gutka in the country, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Panabaka Lakshmi said today.
“Government has no proposal, at present, to ban the sale of Gutka,” she said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.
She said there were no standards for Areca nut but it was permitted to be used as one of the ingredients in Pan masala, standards for which have been prescribed.
“Areca nut is a known carcinogen, due to presence of alkaloids and some of the studies have found chewing of areca nut/pan masala to be associated with the development of oral sub mucous fibrosis,” the Minister said.
Small Scale Industries Minister Mahabir Prasad replying to supplementaries said 8.87 lakh small scale units out of 22.62 lakh small scale industries were found closed during 2001-02 census of SSIs.
“The Government is seized of the problem of sickness among SSIs. In this context, the Reserve Bank of India issued detailed guidelines to banks on detection of sickness in SSI at an early stage, taking remedial measures and rehabilitation of potentially viable sick SSI units,” he said.
Lakshmi to another query said Manipur and Nagaland in the North-East have prevalance levels of more than one per cent HIV infection.
“Government has set up 101 Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) Centres in the country to provide free ART to AIDS patients. Presently, 52,663 patients are seeking treatment at these centres,” she said.