New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) More smuggled cigarettes are coming into India with the amount being detected being worth Rs 162 crore in last financial year, which was more than legal imports into the country, parliament was informed on Monday.
“Smuggled cigarettes that have been detected are valued at Rs 162 crore in 2015-16. I am sorry to state that it is more than the legal imports,” Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.
Terming “illegal imports” a matter of deep concern, she assured the members that the central government and the Customs are “taking a lot of measures” to check the problem.
To a supplementary question, she said, “absolutely no advertisement is entertained on cigarettes”.
Raising supplementary questions, Boora Narsaiah Goud of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi said huge number of tobacco farmers in Andhra Pradesh and in some other states are suffering because of the illegal import of tobacco.
He said government claims that smuggled cigarettes worth Rs 9,246 lakh has been seized which, he said was “only the tip of the iceberg as the magnitude of the illegal import of tobacco is much more”.
Sitharaman said with regard to smuggling menace, both her ministry and the Finance Ministry under which the Customs comes and working hard and “trying to strengthen borders so that illegal imports can be stopped”.