The Indian state of Kerala is to be the first in the country to introduce a ‘fat tax’. The proposed 14.5% levy on all pizzas, burgers, donuts and tacos sold through branded outlets was announced in the first budget of the new communist government. It is not clear yet when it is due to be implemented.
The region is the second-most obese in India, which has the third-highest rate of obesity in the world. The import of unhealthy Western diets is commonly thought to be the cause, however other voices have pointed out that sedentary lifestyles are on the rise due to a changing workforce, which means more IT / service jobs, as opposed to active ones in agriculture or construction, and more disposable income to spend on luxury food.
Thomas Isaac – the new Finance Minister – says that the tax will raise 100 million rupees (£1.1M) annually, whilst dissuading people from eating unhealthily. Coconut oil and packaged products made out of wheat will also be subject to a 5% tax.