Burn it: Kerala wants 14.5% ‘fat tax’ on junk food | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Burn it: Kerala wants 14.5% ‘fat tax’ on junk food

Kerala, where 28% adult population is obese became the first state in the country to impose a ‘fat tax’ on junk food. Presenting its budget on Friday, the CPI(M)-led Left Front government slapped 14.5% tax on branded restaurants selling pizzas, burgers, tacos, doughnuts, sandwiches, pasta and patty.

india Updated: Jul 09, 2016 00:56 IST
Kerala government has proposed a 14.5% ‘fat tax’ on junk food.
Kerala government has proposed a 14.5% ‘fat tax’ on junk food.


Kerala, where 28% adult population is obese became the first state in the country to impose a ‘fat tax’ on junk food. Presenting its budget on Friday, the CPI(M)-led Left Front government slapped 14.5% tax on branded restaurants selling pizzas, burgers, tacos, doughnuts, sandwiches, pasta and patty.

Although finance minister Thomas Isaac didn’t give any rationale, the state is expected to raise Rs 10 crore from the tax. The budget also imposed 5% tax on coconut oil, ready-to-eat chapatis, wheat, maida, semolina (sooji) and basmati rice.

“This is a healthy and environment-friendly budget, and fat tax fitted very well,” Isaac told reporters. The proposed tax may hit fast food majors.

Reacting to the move, a spokesman of the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association said the tax was just a publicity stunt. “In Kerala branded outlets selling these items are very few. Their business won’t be worth Rs 10 crore then how did he expect Rs 10 crore tax?” he asked.

The announcement evoked a mixed reaction on Twitter with some welcoming the move while others asked Kerala government if a similar tax will be levied on popular banana chips and banana fry.

In the past, studies had revealed obesity increasing among schoolchildren. Experts had blamed the trend on rising consumption of junk food. Advisories had been issued against selling junk food in schools in several states including Delhi.

The introduction of fat tax as a measure to curb consumption of junk food has been debated globally and countries like Denmark and Hungary had imposed a tax. Denmark later withdrew it.

But junk food eaters are a worried lot. “I don’t think tax can alter one’s food habit. The state imposed about 150-200% tax on liquor but the number of tipplers is only going up steadily,” said K Vinod, Technopark employee.