Thursday, July 31, 2014

Boycott all ITC goods

Its been nearly a month since the announcement of the general budget of the government of India announcing hike in excise duty of cigarettes by 11 to 72%. As usual cigarettes were selling in black nearly a week before the budget expecting the hike and now almost 3 weeks after the budget the disgusting practice continues. The government washed its hands off (after displaying their lack of imagination by listing taxes on the cigarettes as the first item in the national budget for  generating revenues) after presenting the budget while there is no announcement from the company ITC Limited , a near monopoly in the cigarette market, about its intention to raise or not to raise the prices leaving its own supply-chain partners ( the wholesalers, dealers & retailers) to make merry while the smoker puffs. If the Supreme Court of India couldn't find Narendra Modi guilty for not doing anything for three days while marauding rioters enflamed lives and houses in Gujarat in 2002; ITC is surely more than an arm's length away from the long arms of the law for not doing anything to inform the consumers about its position and location of fair-price shops to stop black-marketing. Their website gives no information nor are there any ads in the paper leaving consumers to suspect ITC the same way as they had suspected Modi nearly a decade ago of intimate involvement in the fracas.
Cigarettes is a product with inelastic demand like petrol or diesel and hence its the soft target for all law makers. The only right that the consumer has to strike back is of boycotting ITC brands and switching to alternate brands en masse. But this time around, it'll be a better lesson for the company if the consumers are smart enough to switch their food brands of ITC along with cigarettes. And as for the hackneyed Triple-Bottom-Line  that their Chairman tom-toms at the annual GBM, they could add the fourth line . That of contributing every day Rs. 7 crores + (calculated at 10% of the cigarette business) to the black money chest of India after the budget.
So much for social sustainability !!! Anyway , here's a long clarion call from the piper , in rhyme, to boycott all ITC goods.

Boycott all ITC goods
Be it cigars or be it foods
It’s the first that get smokers on the hook
While ITC writes profits in the book.
But whenever its time for budget
The dealers bring out the hatchet
Draining the pockets of  consumer
Off that  extra buck & cheer.
The price is always above MRP
While the middlemen go scot-free;
As neither ITC nor the law
Bare their sharpened claw
To stop generating wrongful money
Of black hue  & wholly uncanny.
An advertisement w’d have been fine
And completely in line;
If location of fair-price shops
Selling cigars (& not mutton chops)
Were taken out in dailies
For the benefit of those families
That not only smoke ITC’s  tobacco goods
But also devour their processed foods.
Hence the piper announces  his call
That whenever you go to the mall
Boycott all frigging ITC goods
Be it cigars or be it foods. 

MRP: Maximum Retail Price

1 comment:

Hemu said...

Why don't you give HUL a look.