Tobacco is one of the world's top commercial crops and among the most important crops for farmers in India as well. Our country is the third largest producer of tobacco globally, according to the government's Tobacco Board.
In India tobacco farming is popular in as many as 15 states. Tobacco is preferred as a crop perhaps because it can be grown easily even on infertile soils unsuitable for other crops, and can withstand unpredictable weather conditions too.The Central Tobacco Research Institute, a part of the Ministry of Agriculture, mentions that "Tobacco provides livelihood security to
30 million people including 6 million farmers and 20 million farm labourers engaged in tobacco farming, besides the 10 million people working in processing, manufacturing and exports, in India."
India is also one of the world's top exporters of tobacco. Tobacco exports contribute Rs. 4400 crores annually towards foreign exchange earnings. And excise duties collected from tobacco contributes Rs.14,000 crores, or 10% of all excise revenue, to the country's exchequer.