Lucknow, 25 February: In the last ten years in Uttar Pradesh, 16 cases of tobacco companies in which a total of 3196.63 lakhs of tax evasion have been found, including illegal trade of cigarettes, pan masala and other narcotics products and also cases of tax evasion, a recent research revealed it.
Research report on the illegal trade and tax evasion cases of tobacco industry in India was presented at the Giri Institute for Development Studies on Thursday.
Research report was also released on this occasion. However, the research work of the state of Uttar Pradesh was done by the Associate Professor of Giri Institute of Development Studies, Lucknow and Convenor of Public Health Research, Dr Vivek Awasthi and CS Verma from React.
Various government and other institutions will have to come forward
According to Dr CS Verma, government, international agencies, research institutes and various society organizations will have to come together for the challenges of tobacco sector. He also released a fact sheet on it.
Vivek Awasthi, from research-related organization React told that we have studied many publicly available government documents and found that they record ways to engage in the illegal trade of tobacco industry in India, as well as its illegal trade.
He pointed out that India’s tobacco industry claims that its business is legitimate and illicit trade is done by very few people, who trade foreign brands.
Tobacco companies cheat the government and do tax evasion
React reviewed publicly available government sources such as the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), Central Bureau of Economic Intelligence (CEIB) and Parliament Report and Found that tobacco companies including prominent cigarette and pan masala companies cheat the government and evade taxes. Several case studies across India have also been included in React’s report.
Public welfare works impact on illegal tobacco trade
Dr Mansoor Ali of Giri Institute of Development Studies said that one thing is clear that when the government is able to raise less money from tax revenue, it has less money to spend on its citizens and their health. So when there is an illegal tobacco trade, governments have less tax revenue to spend in welfare work, and people consume more tobacco, thereby deteriorating their health.
390.38 crore loss to government due to tax dodging methods
The study of the research report mentions that at least 108 CAG reports between the years 2009-2018 show that the tobacco industry has a number of means to avoid paying taxes and sell its products illegally. Uses According to these reports, the tobacco industry has caused a loss of at least 390.38 crore to the government.
The DRI reports also mention illegal cigarettes caught in huge quantities from Maharashtra, hundreds of tonnes of betel nuts being stolen from Andhra Pradesh and a large quantity of pan masala, most of which are used in trains and railway stations.
Use of railway network in illegal tobacco work
The CBIC report has shown a large movement of illegal tobacco from India’s extensive railway network. In June 2020, Operation Cancer, a special mission, revealed an Rs 250 crore smokeless tobacco fraud in Madhya Pradesh.
The Indian Parliament’s records show the tobacco industry’s connection to the criminal network and at least 189 cases of evasion of excise and customs duties by the tobacco industry, amounting to Rs 100 crores, of which at least 25 cases (14 percent) of tobacco companies.
All types of tobacco cause death
State Nodal Officer of National Tobacco Control Program, Dr Sunil Pandey said that all types of tobacco cause death, whether they are sold legally or traded illegally. Tobacco products from illicit tobacco trade are cheap and attractive to sensitive groups such as children, adolescents, and disadvantaged communities. The government incurs a loss of crores of rupees due to unpaid taxes and smuggled tobacco. Tobacco use is a gateway to other serious addictions in the state.
Effective enforcement of laws makes possible reduction in illegal trade
Speaking on the occasion, State Advisor of the National Tobacco Control Program Satish Tripathi said that effectively enforcing the laws for tobacco control will reduce the illegal trade and reduce the cheap tobacco products available in the market.
KGMU’s Dr Vinay Gupta said that the problems of tooth and mouth cancer are constantly increasing due to consumption of tobacco and it can be reduced by effective control of tobacco products.