In A First, Kerala Introduces A “Fat Tax” Of 14.5% On Junk Food

If you’re in Kerala, the government is watching…your waist.

The Kerala government has proposed a “fat tax” on the consumption of junk food items like pizzas and burgers sold through branded restaurants. It will charge a additional tax of 14.5% on fattening food sold by chains such as McDonald’s and Dominos. This was announced in a speech by state finance minister TM Thomas Isaac.

Source: Indian Express

The Kerala government is languishing under a Rs. 12,000 crore budget deficit, and this tax is one of the measures to help the government. The tax is expected to net the government Rs. 10 crore this year.

A tax on “fattening” food is a controversial subject. While on one hand, it shows the government’s commitment to the health of its citizens, on the other it possibly encroaches on people’s rights to eat what they please. The Indian government already heavily taxes harmful goods like cigarettes and alcohol.

Globally, countries like Denmark and Hungary have experimented with such a fat tax. It had however been scrapped later by Denmark.