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Swadeshi Fat Not Really In The Fire?


Kerala’s fat tax targets only branded food; is the tax on fat or on the exotic?

People in Kerala must be relieved that the much-feared ‘fat tax’ of 14.5% would be levied only on pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and tacos, that too only those sold through “branded” outlets. Indeed, this tax could even be decried as an indirect method to make only the state’s creamy layer – who can afford to patronise such branded outlets – healthier, rather than the wider populace. Some may even deem it to be a covertly swadeshi tax, given that the brands who purvey these fast foods are largely foreign, operating on franchisee models. However, this exemption will certainly take the heat off the far more numerous ‘unbranded’ establishments and roadside kiosks selling localised – and more affordable – versions of these toothsome western delights.

It will, of course, also let off the innumerable indigenous foods with excessive fat content that are consumed more eagerly, widely and certainly more frequently in Kerala and elsewhere in India. Given their popularity, such caveats would also probably be included by any other state contemplating similar levies on fatty foods. Imagine the nationwide commotion if such a tax were,to include namkeens, vadas, samosas, kathi rolls, bhaj is, bread pakoras, chhole bhature, kachoris, chowmein, jaleb is, plantain chips and other fried delights? Then the fat would truly be in the fire.

Source: Economic Times