ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Rijo M JohnSubscribe to Rijo M John

A Rational Taxation System of Bidis and Cigarettes to Reduce Smoking Deaths in India

Tobacco smoking of bidis and cigarettes causes about one million deaths a year in India. India's relatively high consumption is due in part to a historically low or no tax on bidis and an inefficient, complex system of taxing cigarettes. In the context of planned tax reforms in India, we provide specific recommendations to raise tobacco taxes and to adopt a simpler and more efficient tax administration that would curb smoking. We estimate that raising the tax as a percentage of retail price from 7% to 33% for bidis and from 43% to 58% for cigarettes would conservatively lead to about 14 million smokers quitting and 27 million children never starting, thereby saving some 69 million years of healthy life over the next 40 years. The increase would also raise about Rs 73 billion or an additional 1.2% of current government revenue, while incurring no or minimal economic harm. Modest action on tobacco taxes in India might well save millions of lives.

Statewise Estimates of Poverty among Religious Groups in India

This study finds on the basis of NSS data that there are striking variations in the level of poverty among different religious groups, both within and across states in India. The paper shows that religious diversity in India also has an economic dimension. A comparison of the average consumption level of religious groups for all India shows that the average monthly per capita expenditure of Muslims is the lowest in both rural and urban India. The average MPCE of Sikhs and Christians is the highest in rural and urban India, respectively. The prevalence, depth and severity of poverty are found to be the highest among the 'Others' in rural India and among Muslims in urban India. The immediate challenges are to formulate and implement 'inclusive' policies and it is hoped that the estimates of poverty computed in this paper will contribute to providing an empirical basis for the debates on the subject. We also hope that this paper will stimulate research towards state specific studies seeking to explain factors underlying poverty among different religious groups.

Ban on Tobacco

A ban on smoking in public places reassigns property rights in favour of non-smokers and is desirable, considering the effects of passive smoking. The ban on advertisement of tobacco products might promote surrogate advertising by tobacco companies to keep their brand names intact.
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