Lucknow, June 30 (IANS) The Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh has increased taxes on all types of tobacco products in the state in a bid to deter their use, and official said Saturday.
The cabinet, at a meeting late Friday, decided to increase the tax slab from 12.5 percent to 50 percent. It was also decided to put tobacco products in the schedule-4 of the UP Value Added Tax (VAT) Act 2008.
The decision, an official told IANS, would benefit the state government in two ways: it will jack up the revenue from tobacco products and will act as a deterrent to smokers and tobacco users owing to the sharp increase in prices.
Among other decisions, the cabinet approved of a Rs.8,500 crore bank guarantee to restructure Uttar Pradesh's power sector.
In another significant step, the UP government also decided to kickstart social audit of the projects being run under the MNREGS and to fully computerize the salary disbursement, GPF and pension schemes.
The cabinet also agreed in principle on the phased distribution of free tablets and laptops to students passing out class 10 and 12 respectively in 2012. The sop will be extended to all students of Uttar Pradesh Secondary Sanskrit Education Board, Uttar Pradesh Madarsa Education Board, CBSE, Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Board, and ICSC board.
The cabinet also gave a green signal to award High Security Registration Plates contract to New Delhi-based firm Agro Impacts India Pvt Ltd, which emerged as the lowest bidder in a fresh bidding process initiated by the state government after the one initiated by the previous Mayawati government was scrapped after being mired in corruption charges.