The newly elected Communist Indian Government has introduced the Indian Fat Tax. Indians have started a battle on fatty foods. The state is going to put a 14.5% “fat tax” on pizza, pasta, sandwiches, tacos and donuts served in restaurants.
Kerala is a southern Indian state, with a high rate of obesity. Finance Minister Thomas Isaac described the tax as a “preventive measure”. He went on to say that people are eating plenty of junk food and reject traditional food. Kerala is the second most obese Indian region, after Punjab. The Government now wants to change this statistic with the tax.
This tax is going to be paid by big fast food chains like McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King or KFC. This is the first Indian state to impose a “fat tax”.
Isaac pointed out that the Government began a fight against fat. However, some are questioning the efficiency of this tax. They argue that Indian food has empty calorie and fatty ingredients, just like burgers and fries do. Opponents of the measure describe thick Indian sauces or buttered chicken and Indian sweets.
Isaac Alexander, cafe owner, believes that a lot of local food is fatty and unhealthy. The tax should not discriminate against fast food chains. The finance minister also said that the tax is targeted at the elite in Kerala. Apparently, the tax only affects the rich, and not “the common man”.
Other states have such taxes too. Denmark was the first country to introduce a fat tax in 2011. It was abandoned in 2013 because Danish people had started to buy fatty foods from across the border.
Hungary also has a fat and sugar tax since 2011. Mexico taxes fatty foods and sugary drinks like Coke. Last month, Philadelphia introduced a soda tax. It was the first large city in America to do so.
Indian health officials believe that people should have a choice over which kind of foods they eat. Also, in a country with so many malnourished children, the fat tax may seem out of place.
Some have even dubbed India the world’s “Diabetes Central”, because of the high number of diabetes patients. The “junk food tax” effect on the Indian population remains to be seen.
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