UP govt hikes VAT on cigarettes, tobacco products: bans sale of loose cigarettes and implements a Naxalite rehabilitation scheme

Lucknow - Smokers and tobacco chewers in Uttar Pradesh will have now to spend more to quell their addiction because cigarettes are now going to cost more as Akhilesh Yadav government has increased VAT on all kinds of tobacco, including cigar and khaini up to 40 per cent as well as imposed a ban on the sale of loose cigarettes.

The decision was taken in the cabinet meeting held on 23rd September 2015, which was chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

An official spokesman said that the cabinet has agreed to issue a notification banning sale of loose cigarettes in the state. He said that more than 70 per cent smokers in the state buy loose cigarettes, and its sale was in violation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) of 2003.

As per provision of Section 20 of COTPA, vendors as well manufacturers can be punished with imprisonment up to two years and/or a find up to Rs 5000. If the offence is repeated, the jail term could increase to five years with a fine of Rs 10,000.

“The cabinet has approved a strict action against the erring persons,” the official said.

The State Government has also increased VAT on all tobacco products, barring bidi, up to 40 per cent. The list also includes non-tobacco Pan Masala.

The Government will earn an addition of Rs 200 crores from this decision, the official said.

The cabinet has also approved Naxal rehabilitation scheme under which the surrendered Naxalite would be kept in a rehabilitation camp for three years where he would be imparted vocational training. During that period, Rs 4000 would be given per month as stipend.

“The Naxalite would be screened through a district level committee and it would be ensured that the surrendered Naxalite does not go back to anti-national activities,” the spokesman said adding that this scheme is an extension of central government sponsored Security Related Expenditure. This scheme is in place in Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

UP Government has also decided to renovate dilapidated tehsil buildings in 10 districts of the state. Where the buildings are in bad shape these would be demolished and where renovation is required, renovation would be carried out, the spokesman said.

The Government has also approved its 10 per cent share in Deen Dayal Upadhaya Gram Jyoti Yojana under which identified villages would be electrified.

The Cabinet has also approved the construction of 18 labs. It has also approved the purchase of 67 mobile vans.

In an attempt to extend relief to sick sugar mills, the government has approved guarantee of Rs 139.30 crores for 22 sugar mills for next five years. The money would be transferred by UP Cooperative Banks and District Cooperative Banks.

With a view to improve the quality of education at the village level, government has decided to start 191 model schools under private and public sectors. These schools would come under Directorate Secondary Education.

The Government has also decided to operate state-run Ashram schools under the pattern of Navodaya Vidyalaya and these would be attached with CBSE. There are 56 ashram schools in UP which are set up in SC dominated localities.

In another decision, the Government has decided to purchase 500 more ambulances which will be distributed among districts as per requirement, under 108 Ambulance project. For this, the government has approved Rs 15 crore as mobilization advance.

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