New Delhi: In another step against smoking, the government has reduced by 50 per cent duty free allowance of cigarettes to 100 sticks and 25 cigars in airports. The decision comes barely a day after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposed 'sin tax' and announced increase in excise duty on cigarettes in the range of 11 to 72 per cent.
According to the recently notified Baggage (Amendment) Rules, 2014, passengers arriving from abroad to any Indian airport will now be entitled to bring into the country 100 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 125 grams of tobacco without payment of customs duty. However, there has been no change in the limit of bringing two litres of liquor or wine by a passenger.
Jaitley, while presenting his maiden budget on Thursday, had proposed increase in excise duty on cigarettes in the range of 11 per cent to 72 per cent. Similar increases were proposed on cigars, cheroots and cigarillos. "Likewise, the excise duty is being increased from 12 per cent to 16 per cent on pan masala, from 50 per cent to 55 per cent on unmanufactured tobacco and from 60 per cent to 70 per cent on gutkha and chewing tobacco. These are healthy measures and I hope everyone would welcome them from the point of view of human and fiscal health," the Finance Minister had said.
Jaitley has also increased duty free allowance to Rs 45,000 from Rs 35,000 for all passengers of and above 10 years of age and returning after stay abroad of more than three days. "As a measure of passenger facilitation, I propose to increase the free baggage allowance from Rs 35,000 to Rs 45,000," he had said while presenting the budget.