In Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's Budget announcements, Income Tax was the undisputed star. But on social media, it had to share the limelight with another announcement - a hike in tax on specific cigarettes.
In Budget 2023, Ms Sitharaman announced a 16% rise in National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) on cigarettes, which will make smoking more expensive.
There had been no increase in taxes for cigarettes in the last two years, and smokers were hoping it would continue. Their hopes were dashed but social media was inundated with jokes and memes.
Cigarette to other products during #Budgetpic.twitter.com/XinRSA06kw— Economist Sachya (@sachya2002) February 1, 2023
ITC after every budget #cigarettes#itc#Budget2023pic.twitter.com/Wp4Ovh3WdQ— Political tweets (@_politicaltwits) February 1, 2023
Indian smokers covering up the ground after watching the increased custom duty implemented on #cigarettes#Budget2023#incometaxpic.twitter.com/W4pjnLJBdX— Membooda (@memebooda) February 1, 2023
Cigarette smokers listening to budget waiting to know if prices have increased again.#Budget2023pic.twitter.com/hzMryjxvad— Pakchikpak Raja Babu (@HaramiParindey) February 1, 2023
Chain smokers stocking up cigarettes before union budget 2023#budget2023pic.twitter.com/IloYt6PvsZ— ʀΣᴅᴍᴀɴ (@rdt309) February 1, 2023
Tax On Cigarette Raised By 16% ⬆️#cigarettes#Smokers - pic.twitter.com/9ZWvLoUVyt— Shailaja Shashikant Jogal (शैलजा शशिकांत जोगल) (@jogalshailaja) February 1, 2023
Memes weren't the only impact of Ms Sitharaman's announcement on taxing cigarettes. The shares of ITC Ltd. and Godfrey Phillips India also dropped in early trade.
Among other things that will get expensive after the Budget are imitation jewellery, imported toys, and electric vehicle imports.
Mobile phones and TV sets manufactured in India will be cheaper, Ms Sitharaman announced.