Bihar to exempt chewing tobacco from tax

Patna, Oct 11 (IANS) Bihar has decided to exempt chewing tobacco or 'khaini' from tax to help thousands of farmers who grow tobacco in the state, officials said here Friday.

"Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced exemption of khaini from tax in view of the demand made by the farmers, who met him on Thursday," said an official in the CM's office.

The farmers told Nitish Kumar that the produce is their main source of livelihood, but it was being seized and taxes and fines imposed on them.

Khaini is consumed by millions of people in Bihar and across the country.

An agriculture department official said tobacco is the only cash crop of farmers in north Bihar districts of Samastipur, Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga and Sitamarhi.

Traders from Assam, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh purchase the yield from them, an official said.

A Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) has revealed that every second adult in Bihar is addicted to khaini. About 63 percent of the men and 35 percent of women in Bihar consume it.

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