Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Kerala imposes tax on Fast Foods. Image Source: e-sandesh.com
  • Vowing to combat rising levels of obesity—Kerala has the second highest levels of obesity in the country—the state government is imposing a 14.5 percent “fat tax” on fast goods sold by branded restaurants such as McDonalds and Pizza Hut
  • Strongly supporting the Kerala initiative, the doctor says, “We used to see diabetes 20 years back, diabetes in 50 or 40 years of age. Now we are seeing diabetes at 15 years of age, 18 years of age”
  • Global brands such as Pizza Hut, KFC and McDonald’s have been ramping up their presence as the Indian fast food market grows exponentially while others such as Johnny Rockets, Burger King, Wendy’s and Barcelos have begun making forays

Customers in India’s southern state of Kerala will have to dig deeper into their pockets each time they want to order a juicy burger, a cheese-laced pizza or other fast food such as doughnuts and tacos.

Vowing to combat rising levels of obesity—Kerala has the second highest levels of obesity in the country—the state government is imposing a 14.5 percent “fat tax” on fast goods sold by branded restaurants such as McDonalds and Pizza Hut.


India’s first ‘fat tax’

Thomas Isaac, Kerala’s finance minister, says he took the cue from a handful of countries that have experimented with similar taxes.

Follow NewsGram on Twitter: @newsgram1

India’s first such tax in the scenic, coastal state will only affect a small section of the country’s increasingly affluent middle class, whose appetite for Western-style fast food has grown over the last decade-and-a-half. The measure has attracted national attention as India confronts growing levels of obesity.


Pizza Hut. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Critics question if it will actually deter people from getting their fix of junk food, and skeptics suspect it is probably meant to garner more revenue. Doctors and nutritionists, however, say it is a long overdue first step in that the country urgently needs to address its expanding waistlines.

Addressing obesity

With half of Indians under 25, worries center on young people in particular.

Anoop Misra, who heads the Center for Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol at Fortis Hospital in New Delhi, has watched with rising alarm as more and more people in their 20’s and 30’s walk into his clinic.

Strongly supporting the Kerala initiative, the doctor says, “We used to see diabetes 20 years back, diabetes in 50 or 40 years of age. Now we are seeing diabetes at 15 years of age, 18 years of age.” Misra says he hopes the rest of the country will take the cue from the state’s fat tax.


McDonalds. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Global brands such as Pizza Hut, KFC and McDonald’s have been ramping up their presence as the Indian fast food market grows exponentially while others such as Johnny Rockets, Burger King, Wendy’s and Barcelos have begun making forays. Fast food chains have not commented on the tax so far.

Money making initiative

The Kerala government has rejected suggestions that the tax aims to shore up its revenue, saying collections from such a tax will be small. Fast food outlets have a relatively small presence in the southern state compared to the north and the west.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook: NewsGram.com

Minister Isaac, who proposed the tax, says he simply sees it as a signal to move back to traditional healthy eating, a practice he says is “going out of fashion.”


Finance minister of Kerala- Thomas Issac. Image Source: www.thehindu.com

While acknowledging the need to target unhealthy food, many in Kerala point to local, deep-fried, highly popular local snacks and foods that are often sold at wayside stalls and restaurants. The owner of a café in Kerala’s Kochi city, Isaac Alexander, says the format does not seem fair as it excludes such food.

“One food that is eaten widely in Kerala is the “paratha.” It is high in fat, high in refined flour; it is cheap,” he said. “It can’t be taxed because it is highly unorganized,” he said.

Raising awareness, not taxing

Doctors and nutritionists agree that the tax needs to target a range of Indian snacks rich in trans fats that are sold throughout the country often on wayside stalls, as well as sugary drinks.

“Is it enough? I don’t think so. We need to go much beyond the burgers and the doughnuts and the French fries,” says Sheela Krishnaswamy, a nutritionist who heads the Indian Dietetic Association in Bangalore. “It needs to be done more scientifically. It needs to be done at what percentage of fat in a food can the fat tax begin.”

A customer in New Delhi who is enjoying burgers with his family does not agree. Vijay Deoli says governments should focus on more urgent priorities like pollution.

“First you have to clear up the air, the water; many things are there,” he said. “This is a small thing.”

Others say the government should focus more on raising awareness about fast food instead of using taxes to influence people’s choices.


Fast Food Tax. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

“If you go by even developed countries, nowadays teachers or classrooms — they are training people, what should be eaten, and what should not be eaten,” says IT engineer Gaurav Singh.

Denmark, for example, scrapped a fat tax when it found that customers were picking up their quota of high fat goods from other countries.

Health experts agree that raising awareness is critical; but, Dr. Misra feels that education alone is not doing the trick.

“As I see every day, people, they are well aware of what is good and what is bad, they will [still] most of the time veer towards bad eating,” he said.

He compares the fat tax to a seatbelt law imposed some years back to force people to use seatbelts. “Everybody has a seatbelt. Previously nobody was wearing that, because there is a fine. So a certain amount of regulation has to be brought in to change the habits of the people.”

Source: VoaNews

Also Read:


Popular

wikimedia commons

An illustration of the nursery rhyme, Jack and Jill

A hilarious rhyme that children often chant cheerily while jumping around, Jack and Jill is another example of the dark history covered up in light-hearted rhyme. Instead of England though, this is a rhyme that sheds light on the history of France.

Unlike other rhymes, the rhyme is part fiction and part history, since only the first two lines can be taken as an allusion to the past.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Boxed Water Is Better on Unsplash

What about picnics by waterfalls and long, rambling walks to discover unexplored lakes? That's just the thing about mountains.

Tired of waking up to the usual alarm? How about starting your mornings with the sounds of birds chirping instead, with the added bonus of lush, green afternoons, and nights spent under brightly lit skies? What about picnics by waterfalls and long, rambling walks to discover unexplored lakes? That's just the thing about mountains. You won't know the wonders you can come across, or the experiences you can have. All of this makes the mountains the perfect escape from the city.

Here are some suggestions from Airbnb with stays and experiences that can set the backdrop for the perfect mountainous holiday.

Seclude Ramgarh -- Grishma- Nainital
Forget finding shapes in clouds, learn what it's like to live in them instead. At 4900 feet above the ground, your head will indeed be in the clouds at this secluded stay in Ramgarh. The hill station boasts of a cool climate throughout the year, and with plenty of outdoor areas, balconies, and large windows, you can make the most of the idyllic weather. Seclude Ramgarh is also home to a large common fire pit to warm up your evenings and make it a truly immersive experience.

boat on sea near mountain under white clouds and blue sky during daytime At 4900 feet above the ground, your head will indeed be in the clouds at this secluded stay in Ramgarh. | Photo by Anubhav Rana on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Anupam Mahapatra on Unsplash

Regular physical exercise may significantly enhance your quality of life.

Physical activity or exercise may help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and lower your chances of acquiring many illnesses. Regular physical exercise may significantly enhance your quality of life. So, start your day off right with these workouts that incorporate strength and flexibility.

Stretching

woman in white sports bra and black leggings stretching

Begin by stretching your muscles | Photo by Chalo Garcia on Unsplash

Start extending your arms and feel your whole body stretch from the soles of your feet to the tip of your fingers. Take three to four long, deep breaths to calm yourself. Keep stretching for about 2-3 minutes

Plank

person planking on floor

Planking helps to maintain balance and coordination. | Photo by Sergio Pedemonte on Unsplash

Take a pushup posture, with the weight of the body resting on the forearms, elbows, and toes. It is important to have the arms exactly below your shoulders, with your whole body in a straight line and your back straight. Hold the same posture for 30 seconds and repead thrice in total.

Pushups

man in white tank top and gray shorts doing pushup

Pushups help in building upper body strength. | Photo by Fortune Vieyra on Unsplash

Place your hands approximately 36 inches apart on the floor while keeping your body at arms' length. Lower your chest nearly to the floor when you take a breath in and exhale. Taking a deep breath out, push your upper body back up to the beginning position while tightening your chest muscles. Do 3 sets with atleast 8 pushups in each set.

Mountain Climber

Man in black shirt and shots doing exrecise

The mountain climber really is a full-body exercise. | Flickr

Take a top press-up position, weight on hands and toes, arms straight, legs extended. Bring one knee to your chest, then return it to the starting position. Rep with your opposite leg, then alternate legs throughout. Do 3 sets with 12 repititions in each set.

Jumping Jacks

woman in black dress standing on beach during daytime

Jumping Jacks are a basic, easy-to-do exercise that can be done anywhere and at any time. | Photo by Rodrigo dos Reis on Unsplash

Stand with your legs together, your knees slightly bent, and your hands resting on your thighs. Open the arms and legs out to the sides, keeping the knees bent. Arms extend beyond the shoulders, and legs broader than the shoulders. Return to your starting position by bringing your arms and legs back to your sides. You can do jumping jacks as fast as you can and for as many minutes you wish.


Keep reading... Show less