Panaji, Feb 29: National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) today welcomed the Centre's decision to increase Excise duty on tobacco products by 10-15 per cent, but expressed displeasure over exempting bidis from the hike.
"We welcome the decision to hike the duty on tobacco products by 10-15 per cent but we feel that the increase should have been across the board.
Bidis should not have been exempted from that," NOTE national convener Shekhar Salkar said after the Union budget was tabled in Parliament. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in the budget presented today, increased Excise duty on tobacco products by 10 to 15 per cent, but exempted bidis.
"The motive of taxation on tobacco products is not to gain money, but to make the products expensive so that they are unaffordable for the people. The aim is to protect health of the people," he said.
"Of the total tobacco consumption, 80 per cent is of bidis. It is a major factor but has been left out of the purview of tax increase," Salkar said.
"We don't mind if the rise in Excise duty is mere five per cent but it should have been across the board, why exempt bidis from it. The issue is concerning health of the people," he said.