Proposal to ban tobacco companies from SEZs

Tobacco companies will not be able to set up units in special economic zones (SEZ), according to a proposal by the government.

The proposal seeking a ban on tobacco units in SEZs has been brought forward by the ministry of health and family welfare. The ministry quoted the negative socio-economic impact of tobacco and a high risk of revenue evasion as the reason for discouraging tobacco units in SEZs, reported the Economic Times.
The government also feels that factors such as easy availability of raw material, cheap labour, attractive industrial climate and strong market demand are open invitation to companies in the tobacco sector from across the world to come to India. “These factors will help consumers to access cigarettes and other tobacco products at a much cheaper rate due to substantive cost benefits and will be a serious public health issue in time to come,” a senior government official told the Economic Times.
Though SEZs will only host export-oriented units, they are allowed to sell a certain percentage of their produce in the domestic market. (pi)

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