Sun, Jul 23, 2017 | updated 03:04 PM IST

MPs, doctors, tobacco victims, public health advocates GST regime

Updated: Oct 17, 2016 17:23 IST      
MPs, doctors, tobacco victims, public health advocates GST regime
New Delhi [India], Oct.17 (india-Business Wire India): It is well known that tobacco and tobacco products are globally recognized as "sin goods" on account of their serious adverse impact on public health.

Practically all major countries in the world subject tobacco products to high rates of consumption taxes with a view to garner additional revenue on one hand and discourage its use on the other.

Higher taxes are particularly effective in reducing tobacco use among vulnerable populations, such as youth, pregnant women, low-income smokers and chewing tobacco users.

MPs, doctors, victims of tobacco use and public health advocates have appealed to the GST council to recommend and accept a high tax rate of 40 percent under GST on all types of tobacco products including cigarettes, bidis and chewing tobacco to discourage their use and addiction amongst Indians.

A comprehensive economic reform like GST offers the government a unique opportunity to tax tobacco uniformly at the highest GST rate of 40% to and save millions of Indians from dying prematurely of tobacco related diseases.

"Government should make tobacco prohibitively expensive in GST era. There is no justification for giving any subsidy to a product that kills every second user prematurely", Dinesh Trivedi, MP, Trinamool Congress and Former Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare.

Ashwini Kumar Chaube. Ex Health Minister of Bihar and MP, Bharatiya Janta Party - "As a Health Minister of Bihar I had banned gutka and raised taxes on tobacco products including bidi. I am sure GST council will put tobacco in highest tax category. It will save millions of lives".

Tobacco-use imposes enormous health and economic burden on the country. Each year, almost 1 million Indians die from tobacco-related diseases in India. The total direct and indirect cost of diseases attributable to tobacco use was a staggering Rupees 1.04 lakh crore ($17 billion) in 2011 or 1.16% of GDP. Tobacco-attributable direct medical costs alone are around 21% of national health expenditure. Indeed the costs of tobacco are far greater than what the Indian government/states gain in tobacco excise revenue (just 17% of total health cost).

Even as the industry is opposing the recommendations to impose the 'sin tax' rate of 40 percent on tobacco, it is important to note that tobacco taxation in India is way below global standards. According to Dr. Rijo John, Assistant Professor, IIT Jodhpur, "A recent report from WHO shows that current cigarette taxes as a percentage of retail prices in India are lower than even neighboring countries such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and rank 80th in the world. A 40% GST rates + central excise duty at the current levels would just about maintain the current tax burden on tobacco products. It is also important to allow states to maintain their right to impose top-up taxes on tobacco products, in order to actually make tobacco and tobacco products less affordable over time."

"I see no logic in giving tax subsidy to bidi (or any tobacco product) in GST. With current tax pattern on bidi, consumer and the nation are losers whereas handful of business families (bidi industry owners) are making vulgar profits. Most of the Bidi Industry families wield great political clout. They violate every law related to minimum wages, child labor, healthy workplace etc. Excise and Tax violation remains rampant in this unorganized industry. It is shocking that there is no tax on Bidis in many states. All tobacco products should be taxed very high in GST era", Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, Oncologist, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.

According to, Bhavna Mukhopadhyay, CEO, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) "The GST regime should ideally act as a deterrent to the consumption of health hazard causing substances such as Cigarettes, Bidis etc. through higher taxes. All differentiations should be done away with regards to tobacco and tobacco products and taxed at the highest slab under GST, since lower GST rates would contribute to their affordability and end up promoting their increased consumption amongst most vulnerable sections of population pushing them below the poverty line."

Bidis which comprise 48 percent of the tobacco market, (as compared to chewing tobacco which is 38 percent and cigarettes 14 percent) have been subjected to very low central and state taxes under the false pretext of protecting bidi rollers' livelihood. However, the reality is that low taxes and exemptions only benefit the bidi industry owners. "We strongly support the highest level of tax for bidis under GST and petition that some of these bids taxes are used to improve our wages/living conditions as well as provide alternative livelihoods", says, Nazim Ansari, Secretary Abul Kalam Azad Jan Sewa Sansthan (representing around 6000 bidi workers in Uttar Pradesh).

Public Health fraternity emphasized how critical it is to effectively regulate and tax all forms of tobacco uniformly under GST regime to protect India's most vulnerable populations - the time has come for the government to step up to protect India's 67.5 million bidi smokers from an untimely and painful death. A healthy and productive citizen will contribute more to nation building and help in realizing India's dream of becoming a world economic power. (ANI-Businesswire India)

New Delhi [India], July 22 (ANI): The fourth edition of Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart themed 'Seek-Discover-Explore' will be held at Bhopal from October 27 to 29.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 22 (ANI): Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R S Sharma on Saturday said that the authority is in view of creating a framework for data privacy and protection, which will be specifically limited to the telecom sector.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 22 (ANI): Toronto Recombinant Antibody Centre (TRAC) from the University of Toronto, Canada agreed to license MedGenome's patented cancer immunotherapy solution OncoPept to develop biomarkers for their drug candidates against immune modulators to treat cancer.

Full Story >>

Tokyo [Japan], July 22 (ANI): AVX Corporation signed a definitive agreement to acquire the transportation, sensing and control division (hereinafter called TS&C), from the UK company, TT Electronics PLC.

Full Story >>

Planning easy travel, refer to these top five apps!

Updated: Jul 22, 2017 14:20 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 22 (ANI): With the season of festivals getting back to its fervor, it is time again to plan, save time and fly to your preferred destination, without particularly burning a giant hole in your pocket.

Full Story >>

India was funded by invisible money for 70 years: Jaitley

Updated: Jul 22, 2017 11:09 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 22 (ANI): Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while calling for a greater degree of transparency in political funding, said India was being funded by invisible money for 70 years.

Full Story >>

Return on PMVVY scheme exempted from GST: Jaitley

Updated: Jul 21, 2017 20:18 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 21 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said that rate of return being provided to senior citizens under the Life Insurance Corporation of India's (LIC) new scheme will be exempted under the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, and will be free from fluctuation, thus ensuring more stability to the aged.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 21 (ANI): Bank of Baroda on Friday announced entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposal (DGS&D) for extending various banking services to the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) initiative.

Full Story >>

Mercedes-Benz India launches new AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupe

Updated: Jul 21, 2017 17:34 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 21 (ANI): Commemorating the completion of 50 years of its performance brand-AMG, luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz India on Friday launched the all new Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupe, an SUV Coupe which embodies superlative driving performance and agility.

Full Story >>

Uber launches UPI-linked payment services on Android

Updated: Jul 21, 2017 17:34 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 21 (ANI): Taxi aggregator Uber on Thursday announced third payment option for their Android app users, apart from cash, e-wallet and credit/debit card with the integration of the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) payments platform.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 21 (ANI): While addressing shareholders at 40th annual general meeting (AGM) of Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced a bonus issue of 1:1, which means that shareholders will get one bonus share for every one share held by an investor.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 21 (ANI-NewsVoir): EO Gurgaon organised conversation with Vikram Oberoi, the third generation scion of India's best-known luxury hospitality chain. He is the most successful purveyor of luxury hospitality in the country. Over the 10 years, when he stepped into a mainstream management role as General Manager of the Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur, he has relentlessly focused on quality and succeeded.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 21 (ANI): Government think-tank NITI Aayog on Friday approved investments worth Rs. 18,000 crore for high-speed rail projects for major routes of Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata, Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said at an ASSOCHAM event here today.

Full Story >>

ShopClues appoints Deepak Sharma as new CFO

Updated: Jul 21, 2017 15:23 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 21 (ANI): India's first and largest managed online marketplace ShopClues on Friday announced appointment of Deepak Sharma as CFO.

Full Story >>

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], July 21 (ANI): Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Mukesh Ambani on Friday launched its VoLTE feature phone, JioPhone, in India at an 'effective price' of Rs 0.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 20 (ANI): Paytm now enables customers to get their cashback as Paytm Gold. This will combine the spending and saving experience with an asset that is close to the hearts of Indians.

Full Story >>

Reliance Industries announces Q1 profit at Rs. 9108 crore

Updated: Jul 20, 2017 18:46 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 20 (ANI): Reliance Industries' on Thursday announced its earnings with a consolidated profit at Rs. 9,108 crore, partly driven by one-time gain of Rs. 1,087 crore.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 20 (ANI-NewsVoir): Created with an objective to deliver striking blow to counterfeiting, LetsVeriFy, an innovative and cutting-edge application by ThinkCurve is witnessing a high growth in popularity amongst customers and manufacturers in India.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 20 (ANI-NewsVoir): Preethi Kitchen Appliances, an inseparable brand of any Indian kitchen, entered Global Book of World Records, Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records recently for the demonstration of its mixer grinder's grinding prowess by organising the Longest Mixer Grinder Grinding Marathon-the first brand across the globe to achieve such a feat.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 20 (ANI-BusinessWireIndia): Been into the news since its inception, Applancer has become a renowned name in IT industry. After continuous enhancements, Applancer has become world's first decentralized software development outsourcing platform. We all are pretty aware that mobile apps are ruling the digital industry currently.

Full Story >>