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VAT hikes on tobacco products to 16 per cent in HP
February, 03rd 2011

With the state cabinet giving nod to the proposal of hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) on tobacco products to 16 per cent, the prices of bidi, cigarettes and other tobacco products are expected to rise in Himachal. The decision was taken at the January 29 cabinet meeting.

Even as the state government is in the process of officially notifying the hike, non-government organisations associated with anti-tobacco campaigns have expressed fears of mounting pressure on the government from tobacco companies lobbying for a rollback of the hike.

The proposed hike will sharply increase the prices of bidis, on which VAT was earlier only 5 per cent.

On cigarettes and other tobacco products, a 13.75 per cent VAT is charged at present.

The Himachal Pradesh Voluntary Health Association (HPVHA), which has been active in anti-tobacco campaign in Himachal, has welcomed the state governments decision and has termed it a deterrent for smokers.

As per our reports, the tobacco companies, especially bidi manufacturers, have already started approaching the state government to roll back the decision. With looming fear of pressure tactics from these companies, the public needs to support the anti-tobacco campaign, said HPVHA director Narender Sharma.

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