What is going on?
A day after the U.K.’s Institute of Economic Affairs suggested that tobacco taxes should be halved, a report from India indicates that the Bihar state government has decided to make tobacco tax-free.
According to a OneIndia.com story, the Bihar government’s decision has made a “complete mockery” of the anti-tobacco drive on which the Union government has spent tens of millions of rupees.
The decision was apparently taken after tobacco farmers met with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
They were said to have complained to him that tobacco production was their only source of income and that, of late, “their product was seized and they were fined.”
Kumar subsequently took the decision to make tobacco tax-free.
The move, dismissed by some as a troll for votes, had earned criticism because it had come at a time when every second person in the state (more than 63 percent of men and 30 percent of women) was addicted to tobacco, the OneIndia story said.
It was assumed that the decision would encourage the state’s smoking-incidence figures to shoot up further.
Category: Breaking News