BENGALURU: Public health groups along with doctors and economists are urging the GST Council to consider a special Covid-19 cess on tobacco products to raise additional tax revenue needed to contribute to funding the stimulus package. They are appealing for the cess that can raise a revenue of Rs 49,740 crore, which could cover about 29% of the stimulus package.
Imposing the cess will also prevent the further spread of the virus especially amongst vulnerable populations by making tobacco products unaffordable and forcing them to quit. “Taxation is most effective but least utilised tool to reduce tobacco consumption.
This is a very relevant step in this pandemic, as we know that Covid virus has worst fatality in patients with comorbidities (non-communicable diseases) which are caused by tobacco,” said Dr Vishal Rao, Onco-surgeon and Member of the Covid Consultative Group. ens