New Delhi:  Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan wants farmers to be encouraged to stop growing tobacco crop and switch to alternatives. India is the second largest producer and consumer of tobacco in the world. In a letter to Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman, Dr. Vardhan suggested that the Ministries should develop a scheme to bring down the production and consumption of tobacco, without “economic loss” to farmers. The Minister said that at a workshop held in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, the response from farmers to the idea of shifting to alternative crops was “overwhelming,” but they demanded monetary and technical support for some time to ensure against losses.

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