When Indira Gandhi took a jibe at smokers in Budget speech

When Indira Gandhi took a jibe at smokers in Budget speech

July 5, 2019

New Delhi: The 1970-71 Union Budget was presented by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who was also the Finance Minister during that time for a year. 

Among a host of announcements, Gandhi also “touched” the “smoker’s pocket”. 

In her speech, she apologised for altering the prices for cigarettes. “I am sorry that the smoker’s pocket has to be touched once again. The duty on cigarettes is being enhanced with the increase ranging from 3 per cent to 22 per cent ‘ad valorem’ depending on the value slabs. The cheaper varieties of cigarettes will go up by only one or two paise per packet of 10 cigarettes,” she announced.

Gandhi then proceeded to poke fun at the smokers and said, “Assuming that the smoking community remains steadfast in its devotion, the additional revenue from this measure will be Rs.13.50 crore.”

The former Finance Minister had also increased the scope of ‘ad valorem’ duty levied on prepared and preserved foods to vegetable juices, synthetic syrups and sherbets, dehydrated peas, malted foods, instant coffee, instant tea, jelly crystals, custard and ice cream powders, biscuits, cocoa powder, drinking chocolate, pasteurised butter, processed cheese, branded aerated water, glucose and dextrose.

She continued to make fun in good humour and said, “I hope the honourable members will not accuse me of having preferences of my own. 

Even under my proposals, aerated waters, biscuits, butter and cheese will be taxed only when manufactured with the aid of power and there will be total exemption from tax for baby foods and branded ‘desi’ ghee. These proposals will yield additional revenue of Rs. 8.68 crore.”  


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