More information about text formats
NOT PEER REVIEWED
I read the research paper (other authors Ashvin, Emmanuel, Frank and
Prabhat) with interest.
Quite a few new points have been brought out. One of the important
political reasons for resistance is that hand made ones are done in rural
areas where alternate means of employment are hard to come by. This
results in the local political representative arguing against tax.
Alternatives such as Agarbathi (insense stick) manufacturing, Coir
weaving or other rural handicrafts - must be suggested to make the
argument for higher taxation on Bidi. In all these cases the raw material
supply and picking up the finished products remains the responsibility of
the manufacturer (similar to the operation of making Bidi, but with no ill
effects on society).
Also, the higher probability of cancer in cigarette smoking must be
countered with the argument that larger number of Bidis are smoked per
person per day (since it is considerably cheaper).
Without such specific suggestions - this will remain a research paper
of analysis but not directive. Without a clear directive, no government
(much less the local politician) can act to change the situation. Also,
advertising of tobacco products is banned in India. So, that channel is
not an option.
How could the top manufacturer "Mangalore Ganesha Bidi" regain market
share in a matter of 1-2 years? They continue to supply 3.5 million small
packets every day (25 bidi in each packet). They have been the biggest
manufacturer for over five decades now. Their industry was
built on the fact that it is all hand made and provides employment in
Therefore, alternatives that provide credible means of livelihood in the
rural area, are essential in order to make any progress.