Finance Minister Press Conference: India’s Cabinet Agrees To Bans E-Cigarettes 
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Rajya Sabha on Thursday. (Photo: PTI)

Finance Minister Press Conference: India’s Cabinet Agrees To Bans E-Cigarettes 

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India’s Cabinet Agrees To Bans E-Cigarettes

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the cabinet has agreed to ban the production, sale import and distribution of electronic cigarettes, as it poses health risks.

E-cigarettes, while a very small segment in India, have grown in popularity across the world. A few years ago, ITC Ltd. had launched an e-cigarette which failed to pick up in India.

This comes days after New York imposed an statewide “emergency” ban on flavoured e-cigarettes amid a rising national epidemic of serious respiratory illness -- and several deaths -- linked to vaping. To be sure, India’s ban is on all kinds of e-cigarettes, including flavoured ones.

The Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance, 2019, was recently examined by a Group of Ministers following directions from the Prime Minister's Office.

In the draft ordinance, the Health Ministry has proposed a maximum imprisonment of up to one year along with a penalty of Rs 1 lakh against first time violators.

The ministry has recommended a maximum of up to three years of jail and a penalty of Rs 5 lakh for repeat offenders, sources had told PTI.

Read a detailed story here.

Cabinet Announces Bonus For Railway Employees

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar today announced a bonus for 11 lakh railway employees, costing the government Rs 2,024 crore.

This government has consistently, for last six years, been giving record bonus equivalent to the wage of 78 days. This year also, 11,52,000 employees will get wage worth 78 days as bonus. This has been done keeping productivity and employee morale in mind, the minister said at the post-cabinet press conference.

Cabinet Likely To Consider Ordinance To Ban E-Cigarettes

The Cabinet may have considered today an ordinance seeking to ban production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes, and a jail term for violators, sources told PTI on Tuesday.

The Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance, 2019, was recently examined by a Group of Ministers following directions from the Prime Minister's Office.

The GoM had suggested minor changes and these have been incorporated.

In the draft ordinance, the Health Ministry has proposed a maximum imprisonment of up to one year along with a penalty of Rs 1 lakh against first time violators.

The ministry has recommended a maximum of up to three years of jail and a penalty of Rs 5 lakh for repeat offenders, the sources said.

Banning alternative smoking devices like e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn smoking devices, vape and e-nicotine flavoured hookahs was among the key priorities of the first 100 days agenda of the Modi government in its second term.

If the government brings an ordinance, it will have to replace it with a bill in the next session of Parliament. Once the Parliament approves the bill, the proposed ban on such products will get a legal backing.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman Set To Brief Media After Cabinet Meeting

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharman is set to brief the press at 3 p.m. after a cabinet meeting.

This comes amid a slew of economic and policy measures being announced by the government to lift India’s gross domestic product from a five-year low.

So far, the ministry has rolled back a tax surcharge on foreign funds imposed during the July 2019 budget, a Rs 70,000 core bank recapitalisation plan, a Rs 20,000-crore housing fund and a list of public sector bank mergers, among other things.

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