Only a few days ago, the Indian Health revised its guidelines for ‘Tobacco-free Educational Institutions.’ It ruled that schools and students should not accept awards from tobacco manufacturers and students should not be exposed to tobacco or tobacco substitute products like e-cigarettes.
Yet, defying this, The Wire has exposed that the Delhi Public School (DPS) RS Puram, participated in a competition sponsored by the Philip Morris International (PMI) foundation, makers of Marlboro cigarettes. PMI calls it the ‘Foundation for a Smoke Free World’. One team from DPS also won an award in the category sponsored by this foundation.
The competition was held under the Conrad Foundation, named after the third man who walked on the moon, which runs the Conrad Challenge, a global science and innovation competition for school children. This foundation is in turn funded by the Foundation for a Smoke Free World, which is itself wholly funded by PMI.
A number of top US universities like Harvard and Johns Hopkins have declined funding from this foundation. The WHO denounced this foundation thrice, with one happening in Jan2019. Many other global bodies have done the same and at least 19 top universities in the US have refused funding from the foundation.
Yet in India, this was allowed. It would be too naïve to expect us to believe that DPS did not do its research and was not aware of where the funding is coming from.