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

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Estimates of Tobacco-dependent Employment in India

India ratified the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2004, thus committing itself to reducing tobacco consumption gradually and providing alternative livelihood opportunities to tobacco-dependent workers, including bidi rollers and farmers. While the central government’s demand-side measures seem effective, controlling the supply of tobacco and providing alternative vocations to workers is necessary.

Tobacco is a commercial crop grown in about 12 states in India over an area of around 4.9 lakh ha. As of 2010–11, it accounts for about 0.35% of the net sown area in the country, with a production of 880 million kilogram (kg) (Department of Agriculture and Cooperation 2015). The annual average production in recent years is about 750 million kg. India is the third-largest producer of tobacco, after China and Brazil, occasionally moving to second-largest, after China. Tobacco is grown mainly in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, and Tamil Nadu, which together account for more than 90% of India’s tobacco production and growing area. India accounts for 10% of the world’s tobacco-growing area and about 9% of global tobacco production (CTRI 2017). The types of tobacco and tobacco products produced in India include Flue Cured Virginia (FCV), bidi, chewing, hookah, cigar, cheroot, snuff, natu (country tobacco), burley, Lanka, and Harvel De Bouxo Rio Grande (HDBRG).

Tobacco accounts for more than 10% of excise earnings and attracts foreign exchange through agricultural exports. It provides an income for the many people engaged in its cultivation and in the processing of tobacco products. However, tobacco is considered to be a demerit good because of its adverse health effects and the environmental impact of its cultivation and production. Tobacco consumption has been linked to cancer, cardiovascular problems, and respiratory diseases worldwide. Eight to nine lakh deaths every year are attributed to tobacco consumption in India (Reddy and Gupta 2004). Premature deaths caused by tobacco use are easily preventable, and governments and civil society have a major role to play in preventing these deaths.

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Updated On : 8th Nov, 2018

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