TOBACCO vs. DEVELOPMENT
Consumption trends in IIT Kharagpur.
Are we biting the hand that feeds?
This paper attempts to understand the general consumption trends of tobacco in its different forms in India as a whole and also the transition from non smokers to smokers amongst the student populace at IIT Kharagpur. We will see how much is the average expenditure on Tobacco and what does the Government of India gain and lose from taxing tobacco in India. We will attempt to understand and analyze the question ‘whether the Indian Government can completely ban tobacco or not”. Lastly, this paper will also shed some light on the steps taken by the government of India to reign in over rampant tobacco usage and how IIT Kharagpur could serve the nation even better by creating healthy and responsible citizens.
Tobacco in India was introduced by the Portuguese and popularized by the British amongst the masses and as a cash crop. Consequently, today India is the second largest producer and consumer of tobacco in the world, lagging behind only China (Reddy and Gupta 2004). According to a survey conducted in India by the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2009-10, roughly 35% of the population consumes or has consumed tobacco in some form or the other. Tobacco in India, accounts for more than 1 million deaths as per a Government of India Survey in 2009, which is expected to increase to 1.5 million by 2020. In a country where more than 30% of the population is under poverty, what is important to note is how much of personal income goes towards financing this habit. From causing lung cancer to oral cancer, smoking is considered to be the cause of not only major physical damage but also financial damages through personal spending costs and government health spending.
TOBACCO CULTIVATION TREND IN INDIA
Going by the reports of Food and Agricultural Organization of India, Economic and Social Development Department; the area under tobacco consumption has been rapidly fluctuating since the 1970’s however there has been a steady rise in the production of tobacco. The production of tobacco is strongly related to the prices it fetched in the previous year and the government policies on tobacco. The Area under, production and the yield of tobacco in India Year
Area in 000’ hectare
Prod in 000’ tonne
% with irrigation
n.a: implies that reliable data isn’t available for that time period.
What is alarming here is that tobacco production in India is increasing at more or less rapid rate while the area under cultivation fluctuates. India accounts for around 10% of the world’s tobacco smokers and with the constant increase in GDP and Per Capita Income, the increase in the disposable income would further lead to higher consumption of tobacco and even more expenditure on tobacco.
CONSUMPTION TRENDS IN IIT Kharagpur:
Total Number of People Surveyed: 565
Men: 500 (including 262 under Graduates and 238 Post Graduates) Women: 65 (including 9 under Graduates and 56 Post Graduates)
Chart 1 Men constitute a majority of the people surveyed. It was also difficult gathering data for women as women were reluctant sharing such information due to the social stigma of being labeled a smoker. Now when we see the national consumption trend and then compare it with IIT Kharagpur, the data reflects a very different story. With around 120 million smokers in the 15-49 age...
References: Government of India Budget Documents.
National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Government of India.
National Sample Survey Organization.
Rao and Rajeev, Tobacco in India, an analysis of production and development
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