Video Editor: Mohd. Irshad Alam
A day after the government banned the production, import and sale of e-cigarettes and similar products, an ordinance was issued the next day, on Thursday 19 September, making the production, import, export, transport, sale or advertisements of such "alternative" smoking devices a cognisable offence attracting jail term and fine.
First-time violators will face a jail term of up to one year and a fine of Rs 1 lakh. Subsequent offences, however, will attract a jail term of up to three years or a fine of Rs 5 lakh, or both according to the ordinance.
The storage of e-cigarettes shall now be punishable with imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to Rs 50,000 or both.
Sitharaman, who had headed a Group of Ministers (GoM) on the issue, said the Cabinet decided to ban e-cigarettes and similar products as they pose a health risk to people, especially the youth.
"It means the production, manufacturing, import/export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes are banned... Reports say that there are some who are probably getting into the habit of e-cigarettes as it seems cool. It is believed that there are more than 400 brands, none of which are manufactured yet in India. And they come in over 150 flavours." she said.
Significantly, after the Cabinet decision on Wednesday, cigarette stocks gained up to 5.5 per cent, with shares of Godfrey Phillips India jumping 5.55 per cent and Golden Tobacco climbing 4.69 per cent on the BSE.
Likewise, VST Industries rose by 3.43 per cent and ITC gained 1.03 per cent.
Bonus For Railways Staff
The government also announced a bonus equivalent to 78 days' wage for 11 lakh railway employees this year.
"“For 11 lakh railway employees, this government has consistently, for the last six years, been giving record bonus, equivalent to the wage of 78 days. This year also, 11,52,000 employees will get 78 days’ wage as bonus. This is the reward for productivity.” " - Union Minister Prakash Javadekar
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