Obesity is becoming a major issue in India and Kerala has a plan to curb the junk food craving in the state by introducing the ‘fat tax’. According to Kerala’s Finance Minister a tax of 14.5% will be levied on all junk food items which include pizzas, burgers, tacos, doughnuts and more. People living in Kerala might have to spend more money if they plan on indulging in a burger or pizza from now on. The government is hoping that this will control the amount of junk food people consume and make the people in Kerala healthier and fit.
Fact About The ‘Fat Tax’
- A fat tax is nothing but people paying the price for their unhealthy eating habit. A fat tax levied in other countries has shown a substantial decrease in the consumption of fast food.
- Obesity caused due to eating junk food is a vicious circle. Levying a fat tax will try and curb the problems caused due to the consumption of fast food. It can also reduce obesity related health problems.
- The Fat Tax is expected to increase revenue for the cash strapped Kerala government. Tax on foods such as pizzas, burgers, doughnuts, sandwiches and tacos, which form a major part of the diet among the youth, is expected to earn the Kerala government an additional revenue of at least Rs. 10 crore.
- The concept of fat tax is not new. It is as old as 1942. American psychologist had proposed to impose a tax on every pound of weight that exceeded the acceptable weight limit to control obesity, thereby making a lot more food available for war heroes.
- It is still not clear which food items will fall under the ‘fat tax’ rule since there are a number of food items that need to be checked. While sandwiches are considered healthy, for now sandwiches too fall under the ‘fat tax’ food items. Organizing what food items fall under the ‘fat tax’ rule is going to be tough for the government.
- Denmark had also imposed a fat tax on various food items like butter, oil, pizza and cheese. Although this was done to control obesity, it was later withdrawn due to wide spread anguish among the citizens.
- Mexico has also recently imposed fat tax on fizzy and sugary drinks. This is another example of a country imposing a tax to protect the health of its citizens.
- The UK government has also been one of the countries that have been contemplating introducing the concept of the ‘fat tax’. They have decided to introduce the soda tax with effect from April 2018.
- The main reason for the introduction of the ‘fat tax’ was to curb the obesity problem in the state, however it does not look like a lot of people who regularly indulge in such food items will be affected with the tax or will cut down on their consumption. The tax however might stop a number of middle class families who choose to eat such food occasionally to stop consuming it due to the price hike.