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Hike in tobacco tax

Shillong, Dec. 10: The Meghalaya cabinet today decided to hike tax on tobacco and tobacco products from 13.5 per cent to 20 per cent, as part of an indirect campaign to make people quit smoking and give up chewing tobacco.

Chief minister Mukul Sangma who chaired the cabinet meeting attended by six out of 12 ministers told reporters that the government is expected to generate additional revenue between Rs 15 crore and Rs 20 crore annually.

Prior to the tax hike, Sangma said the government used to earn around Rs 60 crore from the sale of tobacco and tobacco products per annum.

To a question on a blanket ban on gutkha and tobacco-less pan masala in the state, the chief minister said, he cabinet has not taken any decision as there was some confusion on gutkha and mouth fresheners and pan masala.

“The health department will further study the matter, if the ban should extend on mouth-fresheners mixed with tobacco products too. The cabinet needs to clarify this,” Sangma said, adding that the cabinet would again take up this matter soon.

Education: The cabinet has approved the draft regulation for affiliation of schools with the Meghalaya Board of School of Education set up according to the Meghalaya Board of School Education Act, 1973. The board, which conducts Secondary School Leaving Certificate and Higher Secondary School Leaving Certificate exams in the state, also regulates, controls and supervises matters related to school education in the state.

Power: The cabinet has approved the appointment of retired technocrat C.D. Saio as chief technical adviser to the Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited and Meghalaya Power Transmission Corporation Limited.

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