The Swadeshi Jagran Manch has surprised everyone with the support of the products of ITC, the leading Indian unit of the FMCG sector. After all, Swadeshi Jagran Manch is a partner organization of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
This week, co-convenor of the forum Ashwani Mahajan gave birth to this debate in a tweet in this regard.
He supported the use of ITC’s products by tweeting, which is also a big tobacco products company in India.
When Newslaundry contacted him about this, his reply was, “The platform does not support tobacco trade, whether it is domestic or foreign. Our support was for their other products. ”
But when it comes to ITC, the talk of tobacco products comes into the minds of the people themselves. ITC was earlier known as Indian Tubaco Company, now it is officially known by its initials only.
It is not surprising that even today, Sirgate and cigars have been placed in the top products of ITC. Other FMCG products of ITC include food, beauty products, education, incense sticks and matches etc.
In reality, cigarette income is the highest in ITC’s FMCG income even today. All its products are more than the combined income from food, beauty, education, incense sticks and matches.
Mahajan told Newslaundry after tweeting in favor of ITC, “We are not supporting any one company. Every year we print and distribute various pamphlets in which people are appealed to buy indigenous products and boycott MNCs. ”
Mahajan says that he was not aware that ITC sells its cigarette and tobacco products in the FMCG category. “It does not matter to me what ITC says. The forum clearly believes that cigarettes are not FMCG products. It is a low-grade product, ”he says. That is, a product that does not benefit the consumer.
The latest ITC report released on the financial results of March 31, 2018 clearly states that the income from cigarettes stood at Rs 24,848.09 crore in the last 12 months.
According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the business segment is a clear part in any industrial unit. One who provides a specified product or services related to it or a group of products or services related to it. Every business segment is different from each other in this matter.
Simply put, ITC earns an income from certain products and services. In this case, he earned Rs 24848.09 crore from cigarettes and cigars, which is more than all his other business segments, FMCG etc.
Income from Segment – In the Financial Year Ended March 31, 2018
FMCG (Cigarettes – 24848.09 crores, others- 11,375.38 crores)
Hotel Business – 1494.67 Crore
Agricultural Business – 8155.04 Crore
Popperboard, Paper & Packaging – 5249.64 Crore
Other- 1602.43 Crore
(Source: Gross Financial Results filed by ITC Limited at the end of the financial year)
Mahajan told Newslaundry, “Multinational companies take many times more from here than they bring in the country. As a nationalist organization, we oppose it. ”
But how self-righteous is ITC? According to the 2017 annual report, 20.03 per cent stake of ITC is in the hands of foreign investors and institutional investors. Apart from this, 29.81 per cent shares are in the hands of foreign companies.
Tubaco Manufacturers (India) Limited, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, owns 24.68 per cent of ITC. Even the Government of Singapore has a share of 1.33 per cent in it.
Business Standard reported in February last year that London-based British American Tobacco is currently the largest shareholder in ITC with 24.77 per cent in the absence of any clear promoter group.
Mahajan also said that the platform would continue to support the bidi industry – “Our sympathy is with the bidi-tendu leaf laborers until they find an alternative income tool.”
ITC has a deep connection with controversies. In the Bombay High Court last year, Tata Trust, Tata Memorial Hospital and some social workers had filed a PIL challenging the investment in ITC shares by Life Insurance Corporation of India. “How can an entity that insures people’s lives invest in a company that sells tobacco, which kills people?” Questions Pankaj Chaturvedi. Pankaj is an onco surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital, a party in this PIL.
Copy of PIL can be read here.
Earlier, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had issued a notification banning the ITC-sponsored spell B competition in all its schools. CBSE contended that it could not support any such competition which a cigarette manufacturing company is organizing.
But it is clear that the subsidiary organization of the RSS has no problem with the core business of ITC.