Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who gave up his smoking pipe years ago, feels that others too deserve encouragement to kick the habit and hence has subject tobacco products to higher taxation, while exempting toy balloons from central excise duty.
"Toy balloons are a source of joy to millions of children. To bring a smile to their mothers' faces, I propose to fully exempt them from any central excise duty," Mukherjee announced presenting his Budget proposals for 2010-11.
"Since I quit smoking many years ago, I would urge others to also follow suit, as smoking is injurious to health. To this end, I am making some structural changes in the excise duty on on cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos coupled with some increase in rates," he said.
"I also propose to enhance excise duty on all non-smoking tobacco such as scented tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, etc. In addition, I propose to introduce a compounded levy scheme for chewing tobacco and branded un-manufactured tobacco based on the capacity of pouch packing machines," said Mukherjee, who had been an avid smoker for many years but has quit.