The hike in VAT on tobacco products in the budget has been welcomed by the Anti-Tobacco Forum and Cancer Patients Aid Association in the city.
The VAT was hiked from 17 per cent to 20 per cent on cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products. “However, VAT on tobacco products in Karnataka continues to be lower than in other States,” said Vasanthkumar Mysoremath of the ATF.
The forum mooted the idea of creating a corpus fund out of the revenue accrued through additional tax to rehabilitate farmers opting out of tobacco cultivation by surrendering their permits. “Such farmers can be funded out of the corpus fund to take up alternative crops,” he said.
“There is no future for tobacco and taxation will progressively increase in future. Hence, it is better to stop cultivating tobacco,” the forum said and pointed out that India was a signatory to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as per which the crop has to be phased out by 2020.
The forum has been a strong votary of horticulture or food crops as an alternative to tobacco.
The Karnataka Goshala Mahasangha has welcomed the budget allocation of Rs.7 crore towards goshala expenses, which will help animal welfare organisations. S.K. Mittal, Chairman of the mahasangha, said the proposals to encourage production of fodder in gomala and kaval lands will check illegal encroachment and availability of fodder reducing the cost of raring.
However, the mahasangha cautioned the government of fast depletion of livestock in the State due to illegal transportation of cattle and wanted the inter-State borders to be strengthened to check cattle smuggling.
‘There is no future for tobacco and taxation will progressively increase in future. Hence, it is better to stop its cultivation’