Pune, May 6: Despite a Bidi lobby trying for lower rates in Goods and Services Tax (GST), activists are hoping that Bidi will be taxed as other tobacco products.
Of the 12-lakh deaths in India every year from tobacco, Bidi amoking alone causes 6-lakh deaths every year.
It accounts for nearly 80 to 90 per cent of the total tobacco products in India.
The number of Bidis sold is eight times the number of cigarettes sold.
The Government should make all tobacco products prohibitively expensive in the GST era, Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck surgeon at Tate Memorial Hospital, said here today.
A recent letter from 108 cancer centres led by Dr RA Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Centre, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated, “GST is a golden opportunity to correct the historical aberrations in tobacco taxation in India.
In the interest of the citizens of India, especially future generations, we sincerely urge you to put all tobacco products including Bidis in the category of demerit goods.
” Bidis are consumed by 9.
2 per cent of the adult population and cigarettes by 5.
7 per cent as per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey.
It is known that Bidis account for a very high percentage of tobacco related deaths and a product leading to 6-lakh deaths cannot be taxed at lower rate.