Rajasthan Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf on Friday said banning tobacco in the state will be a "foolish decision" as it will lead to revenue loss.
Addressing media persons after an event where a foreign delegation also were present said while replying to the query on efforts made by the state government in controlling tobacco consumption, he said tobacco should be banned in the entire country.
"Banning it only in Rajasthan would be a foolish decision, which would lead to revenue loss and increase its smuggling," he said. State Congress strongly reacted to Saraf's statement saying it shows the government wants to promote tobacco use.
"It is unfortunate on part of a senior leader to give such a statement. The state government is reluctant in following85% pictorial warning on tobacco products.
"Revenue earned through tobacco products is less than the expenditure made on health hazards due to its consumption.During Congress regime, we had banned Gutkha," state Congress vice-president, Archana Sharma said.