Confused Measure
   Date :14-Dec-2021

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THE appeal of public health groups, doctors, economists to the Government to hike excise duty on tobacco products can well be described at best as a confused suggestion. For, on one hand, these people have made the suggestion so that there would be a considerable hike in revenue generation, while on the other hand they talk of combating tobacco addiction in the society. The second ruse appears to be only cosmetic, while the first one appears to have been inspired by some hidden vested interests. Otherwise, why should a group interested in human health be talking about higher revenue earnings? Nothing can be more unfortunate than such a move. While countries such as New Zealand initiate a well-drawn programme of increasing the age bar on smoking annually until a total ban in effected in time to come, the Indian response to the dangers of tobacco consumption is just sluggish. Or, in other words, it can be said that the Government in India is being influenced by some lobbies interested in prosperity of the tobacco industry. That appears to be the only explanation of the paradox between the two parts of the appeal to raise excise duty. Such measures will only confuse issues and add to the current mess.
Good Decision NEW white-ball Captain of Indian cricket team Rohit Sharma talked of creating a strong bond among players. This thought perhaps conceals a possibility that things have not been very right in the Indian one-day-international (ODI) squad. Rohit Sharma may have suggested indirectly that serious fault-lines exist in the team and those need repair. In that case, this may come to fore as one of the reasons why the national team fared so pathetically in the recent ODI World Cup. Another reason could be that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had declared that Virat Kohli would make way for Rohit Sharma after the World Cup, and so he lost interest in leading the team, and so approached his assignment only casually. These details would never come out in the open all right. But cumulatively, recent developments may suggest that all is certainly not well in the team. Of course, Indian team did very well against the visiting New Zealand team. But that did not actually do much to conceal the fault-lines within. Given these possibilities, the BCCI’s hands may be full sorting out governance and organisations issues in the Indian ODI squad -- a serious challenge that.