SHILLONG, Dec 10 � The Meghalaya Government today hiked the tax on tobacco and its by-products by 6.6 per cent, but failed to come to a decision to ban the sale and manufacture of gutkha in the State.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said after a meeting that the Cabinet cleared a decision to increase tax on tobacco and its products from 13.5 to 20 percent. Through this increase, the government expects to realize additional annual revenue of Rs 15 to 20 crore. Currently the government generates revenue to the tune of Rs 60 crore from tax imposed on tobacco and tobacco products.
However, the government failed to abide by the Supreme Court direction that directed Health Secretaries of States and Union Territories to file compliance report on implementation of ban on sale and manufacture of gutkha and pan masala containing tobacco.
Sangma said there has been some confusion regarding the composition of gutkha, mouth fresheners and pan masalas. �The Health Department wants to further study the matter as the ban should be on mouth fresheners mixed with tobacco,� he said.
Moreover, the Cabinet has approved the appointment of a Chief Technical Advisor for the technical wing of the Meghalaya Electric Corporation Limited.