As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget 2017-18, today, as the duties on cigarettes and pan masala have been raised while stepping up allocations for infrastructure, rural, agriculture and social sectors. As the Finance Minister continues the crackdown on cigarettes, bidis and tobacco products, smokers and tobacco consumers will, now have to pay more for their indulgence.
Excise duty on unmanufactured tobacco has been almost doubled to 8.3 per cent from 4.2 per cent earlier, while that on pan masala has been hiked to 9 per cent from 6 per cent. Likewise, excise duty on cigar, cheroots has been changed to 12.5 per cent or Rs 4,006 per thousand, whichever is higher from 12.5 per cent or Rs 3,755 per thousand, whichever is higher. Excise duty on chewing tobacco, including filter khaini and jarda scented tobacco has also been doubled to 12 per cent from 6 per cent earlier. Excise on paper-rolled handmade bidis has been increased to Rs 28 per thousand from Rs 21 per thousand and the same for paper rolled biris has gone up from Rs 21 per thousand to Rs 78 per thousand.
Besides, mobile phones and LED lights assembled in India will also become dearer with the finance minister increasing duties on imported printed circuit boards and components respectively. Jaitley, however, made an attempt to make it more affordable for clean energy sources by cutting duties on solar tempered glass, fuel cell based power generating systems and wind operated energy generator.
With the expected implementation of GST, large-scale tinkering of tax structure has been avoided in the Budget thereby sparing most of the commonly used daily items from price changes.
“Implementation of GST is likely to bring more taxes to both central and state governments because of widening of tax net. I have preferred not to make many changes in current regime of Excise and Service Tax because the same are to be replaced by GST soon,” Jaitley said while presenting the Budget.