India's Kerala imposes 'fat tax' on junk food

July 9, 2016

India's peaceful tourist hotspot Kerala has become the first state in the country to impose a "fat tax" on junk food in a bid to counter rising obesity.

The state's finance minister Thomas Isaac announced a 14.5 percent tax on food including burgers, pizzas and sandwiches sold at restaurants and , as part of the local government's annual budget.

The government said it hopes that the move will not only generate additional revenue for the state but also deter people from consuming .

"There has been an alarming trend in growth of unhealthy eating habits among Keralites and we hope the will be a deterrent," Rajan N Khobragade, the state's commissioner of commercial taxes, told The Times of India newspaper.

However, most high-fat snacks and other fast-food items in India are still sold by largely unregulated street vendors rather than branded chains.

While India has high rates of malnutrition, lifestyle-related health problems including diabetes and obesity are also major issues, particularly in cities.

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