the Finance Bill in the Assembly on Monday, Finance
Minister Amit Mitra put tobacco products such as
cigarettes, gutkha and pan masala under schedule D of
VAT, which enables the government to charge taxes more
than the present 13.5 per cent.
“This has been done to empower the government to impose
taxes on these products, which can cause deadly diseases
like cancer. We will announce the quantum of increase
soon. However, we have kept bidis, which is consumed by
the common people, outside schedule D,’’ Mitra later
told the media outside the House.
Mitra also raised tax on India-made foreign liquor by
bringing it under schedule D. For alcohol sold at MRP
(maximum retail price), VAT has been increased from 23
per cent to 27 per cent. Alcohol sold without MRP will
attract a VAT of 50 per cent against the current 37 per
“I have been asked by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee not
to levy tax on the people as they are already burdened
with high inflation. The CM herself has gone to markets
to check prices,” the Finance Minister said.
Mitra said he had emphasised on three things to increase
tax revenue. “Efficiency has been imposed in tax
administration, massive simplification has been
introduced in the tax regime and a system of rewarding
honest businessman is also being introduced,’’ he said.
The government had earlier said it was expecting a 28.2
per cent increase in this year’s tax collection over
last year’s revised estimate of Rs 17,024 crore. It also
expects to increase excise duty by 33.4 per cent to Rs
Commenting on the debt burden of the state, Mitra said
while the ceiling on the amount of loan the state could
raise from the market was Rs 17, 828 crore, the previous
Left Front government had raised Rs 6,000 crore in the
first one-and-a-half months. “That leaves us with Rs
11,828 crore. However, in the months of June-July we had
to raise Rs 5,000 crore. And every month, we have to pay
Rs 1,500 crore as interest,’’ he said.
Indian Express, India, dated