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Bihar second in tobacco tax violations.

Date: 25-02-2021
Subject: Bihar second in tobacco tax violations
PATNA: As per a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Bihar had the second-highest number of tabacco tax violations after Uttar Pradesh, which topped the list. 

The maximum tax evasion from tobacco industries has been observed in two big cities of the state, Patna and Muzaffarpur, and the companies associated with this industry use different ways such as a short levy on products, illicit trade practices and non-payment of taxes.

Several loopholes related to illicit tobacco trade were stated in a report released by the Bihar Institute of Economic studies with Research Action for Tobacco Control (REACT) on Central Excise Day on Wednesday in Patna. The data was taken from CAG (2009-2018), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (2018-20), Central Board of Indirect Tax and Customs (2020) and Parliament Reports (2017-2020). 

The CAG report further stated that pan masala, gutka, kattha and supari were the most illegally traded products across the country, involving transactions worth nearly Rs 234 crore. This is followed by tobacco worth Rs 87.19 crore, zarda Rs 41.68 crore, cigarette Rs 22.62 crore and bidi Rs 4.61 crore. 

Focussing on Bihar, it was found that tax evasion of over Rs 97 crore was reported against tobacco companies as per a government record. It stated that interstate borders were a major route of illicit trade of tobacco, especially illicit cigarettes. Also, most of the illicit cigarettes were seized at Pataliputra railway station. 

In the report, experts stressed the need for strengthening the surveillance system, strict enforcement of GST laws and heavy penalties, strong intelligence gathering, tax cases against tobacco companies to be fast-tracked and vendor licensing of tobacco products to be implemented. 

This report was jointly released by Patna University former dean (faculty of social science) Nawal Kishore Choudhary, REACT director Pyare Lal, SEEDS executive director Deepak Mishra and Sandeep Pandey from ADRI. 


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