You will have to pay more for that lip-smacking burger at your favourite fast-food restaurant in Kerala because the Left Democratic Front government has imposed a “fat tax”.
This is the first time that such a tax has been imposed in any state of India.
Bihar government had, however, proposed a tax of 13.5 per cent on “luxury items”, which also included salty foods like samosas, salted peanuts, sweets over Rs.500 per kg and a few branded snacks.
According to reports, presenting the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government’s first budget, state Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said that a fat tax of 14.5 per cent would be imposed on branded restaurants selling food like pizzas, burgers, tacos, doughnuts, sandwiches, pasta, burger patty and bread-filling.
The fat tax is part of the nine schemes through which the state government aims to increase its tax income by 25 per cent per annum. According to Isaac, the tax will help the Kerala government earn approximately Rs.10 crore.
Of course, the tax will be on fast-food chains like McDonalds, Dominos, Pizza Hut, Subway among others.
Technically, the burden of tax will fall on the customers.
Though the government has not said what made them come up with such a tax, this report says that two studies – one in 2010 and another in 2012 – done on Kerala school children show that obesity rates are going up.
Fat taxes or similar measures against obesity exist in countries like Denmark and Japan. It effectiveness in countering obesity is still open to debate.