This might sound as if the Kerela Government is planning to levy a cess on the obese fat population, is it?
No, definitely not. But the news might be shocking and startling for food lovers, especially who are crazy about junk food!!
Kerela government presented its Budget recently in which the Finance Minister has officially introduced ‘Fat Tax’- a tax on pizza, burgers and other junk food on reputed restaurants and food ways.
After Bihar’s Luxury Tax on samosa, a much-favourite street food of North Indian cuisine popular in the entire country, this has again startled the complete country. Kerela has already banned alcohols, which has closed innumerable bars and pubs in the state, giving relaxation to only 5-star hotels where alcoholic beverages are still allowed.
Fat Tax is not a new phenomenon. Denmark was the first country in the world to introduce such a tax to control the problems of obesity and unhealthy poor diet in the country. Even the ex- Prime Minister of Britain David Cameron supported the move and favoured the tax in the best interest of the fellow citizens. He has a mindset of introducing the same in his own country as he commented on the present condition of United States in which 50% of the population is suffering from obesity.
But it was a mere failed attempt as after its launch in October 2012, the tax was shut down again in November 2013. It was criticised by the people on the grounds that it was just a source to grab hefty amounts from the general public and fill government pockets. The fall and shut down of various food products and gourmet and restaurants respectively shocked the Danish people.
In the same way, critics are commenting on the issue as an effort to increase government revenue, more than fixing the health problems of the people at large. The cut in the alcohol related tax due to the ban in alcoholic beverages has made the government search for other alternatives to increase their revenue- an opinion of thousands of people. True it may seem, because the government itself stated that the Fat Tax would result in at least 10% increment in revenue collection. Statistics figures itself prove that recently, for the first time, Kerla government has collected the least tax in last two decades.
FAT TAX- A SOURCE OF REVENUE
The Fat Tax, which will supposedly constitute 10% of the government revenue, will be utilised in advancing education opportunities for the students, improvement in infrastructure, betterment in health care facilities and bringing a positive change in the established Universities, making the state an educational hub featuring the best aided Universities of the country and the world alike.
But the real question is whether this tax will achieve the purpose as proclaimed by the State Government. Will it be able to cut down the trending choice of millions of people who lure for junk food? Will it reduce the obese percentage and the related health illness?
The government’s plan to levy an all time high 14.5% tax on fast food sellers is a rather big step. The Dominos Manager himself acclaimed that the amount of tax cannot be wholly recovered from the public, which is in line with the principle of economics. It might reduce the sale of targeted junk food like burgers and Pizzas, but pondering over the logic of reduced fast food consumption leading to lower health problem might sound vague. People might shift to other alternatives equally unhygienic and health deteriorating foodstuff, for instance food stalls in local market, Indian fast food etc may prove equally harmful.
Moreover, the shutting down of various stores or food outlets due to continuous loss graphs may kick away the livelihood of millions of workers, considerably pushing up unemployment rate. No offence, but this might happen.
Therefore, with this Fat Tax, there must be a simultaneous strategy to actually achieve the motive which the government is planning. If health and fitness is the actual target, so provide subsidies on healthy nutritional food, vegetables and fruits or do something that drifts the masses in the right path, cutting down the possibility of a simple shift from one addiction to other, with no added advantage. Don’t try to make a profit of increasing tax, rather aim for what you want- healthy and fit state.