India Might Impose Airline Ticket Tax To Fund International Drug Purchase Facility, HIV/AIDS Programs
India might join France and other countries in imposing an airline ticket tax to fund an international drug purchase facility and HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs, the Financial Times reports (Johnson, Financial Times, 8/31). The French Parliament in January passed a measure that will add a tax of up to $47 for travelers departing from French airports. Chirac in January 2005 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, first announced the idea for the tax. The other countries -- Brazil, Britain, Chile, Congo, Cyprus, Cote d'lvoire, Jordan, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nicaragua and Norway -- that agreed to impose the tax individually will decide on tax amounts. The International Air Transport Association urged governments not to agree to the proposal. The U.S. also is opposed to the tax, which is expected to raise about $248 million annually. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in March expressed support for the initiative and urged other countries to follow France's example (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/2). India's participation in the fund is regarded as a "matter of national prestige," according to the Times. "India is still very donor-dependant, with the government contributing at best $80 million a year to the $500 million annual expenditure planned over the next five years" for domestic HIV/AIDS programs, Denis Broun, country coordinator for UNAIDS in India, said, adding, "The ministry will not want to impose this on the airlines unilaterally, but there's no doubt that generating more resources domestically would certainly help India in its own fight against HIV." According to Ajay Prasad, India's civil aviation secretary, the country soon will decide its level of participation in the fund (Financial Times, 8/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.