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Fags to burn hole in your pocket again

| | New Delhi | in Sunday Pioneer

There’s bad news for smokers! Smoking is going to be costlier yet again with the Budget increasing excise duty on cigarettes and cigars for the fourth consecutive year. Excise duty on cigarettes has been increased by 25 per cent for cigarettes of length not exceeding 65 mm and by 15 per cent for cigarettes of other lengths. Last year, the hike was at 22 per cent.

“Similar increases are proposed on cigars, cheroots and cigarillos,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. However, no tax on bidi has disappointed the anti-tobacco activists. “There has been no increase in tax rate on bidis, small bidi manufacturers who produce less than 20 lakh bidis (2 million) in a year avail exemption from paying excise duty,” said Bhavna Mukhopadhyay, Executive Director, Voluntary Health Association of India.

“Raising tax on cigarettes is welcome and it will be helpful to curb consumption. But why bidi remains exempted from any tax hike. The bidi industry kills users and exploits the manufacturer (bidi rollers). It is truly sad that Government turns a blind eye to that segment,” said Pankaj Chaturvedi of Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.

 
 
 

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