The Meghalaya government today approved seven per cent hike in taxes of tobacco and tobacco products, aimed at raising the revenue to about Rs 85 crore and termed it as an initiative to discourage people from using tobacco products.
"The Cabinet has approved the proposal to raise tax from 13.5 per cent to 20 per cent on tobacco and tobacco products," Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said after the Cabinet meeting.
The hike is an initiative to discourage people from their tendency in using tobacco and tobacco products which is considered to be one of the reasons behind high rate of cancer, he said.
The hike would help government to generate an additional revenue of about Rs 15 crore per year, Sangma said, adding that, the total revenue from tobacco and tobacco products is about Rs 60–70 crore annually.
The state government, however, ruled out a blanket ban on tobacco and tobacco products at the moment as the state health department was examining on presentations made before it on classification of different tobacco and non-tobacco products.
"The cabinet has instructed there should be complete clarity so that enforcing agencies will know how to draw a line between various other products which are also somehow misconstrued and misinterpreted as tobacco products," the Chief Minister said.
The government has also approved the appointment of CD Sayoo as the chief technical adviser for transmission and distribution in the state-owned Meghalaya Electricity Corporation Limited.