Domestic consumption of cigarettes in 2011—12 increased by 4.19 per cent to 1,16,166 million sticks over the previous year, the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia has said.

According to the available data, domestic consumption (total number of units sold) of cigarettes in 2010—11 was 1,11,487 million sticks as compared to 1,11,860 million sticks in 2009—10, Mr Scindia said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

“However, the domestic consumption of cigarettes during 2011—12 was 1,16,166 million sticks showing an increase of 4.19 per cent as compared to the previous year,” he said.

Manufactures of cigarettes and cigars using tobacco are subject to compulsory industrial licensing, he said, adding “however, no industrial licence has been granted for manufacture of cigarettes since 1999, on ground of health“.

Basmati rice quality issue

In an another reply, the Minister said that in 2010—11, traces of pesticides like carbendazim were detected by some laboratories in some of the consignments of Indian basmati rice to the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Italy.

“On account of this, some exporters had to recall their consignments from European markets,” he said.

Mr Scindia said that All India Rice Exporters Association had served legal notice to the European Laboratory challenging the validation of the testing method.

“However, lawyers advised that as per European law, there might not be much relief expected by pursuing the legal course,” he said adding the matter has been raised in bilateral meetings by India with the EU.

India in 2010—11 exported 2.2 million tonnes of basmati rice, of which over 80 per cent was shipped to Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Yemen and Europe.