Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac, in his first budget presented in the assembly on Friday, imposed 14.5% 'junk tax' on popular fast-food items like burgers, pizzas, tachos, doughnuts, sandwiches, burger patties, pasta, bread fillings and other food provided by branded restaurants.
"I expect to raise Rs10 crore through this," said Issac.
The major cities of the state like Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode are all home to popular branded restaurants and this has come at a time when popular American burger chain, Burger King opened its first outlet in the state at Kochi last month.
Even as Issac has taxed the junk food, he appears to have hit the ordinary man by imposing five percent tax on food items like atta, maida and rava, a measure he expected to bring in Rs50 crore to the exchequer.
He also said that it has now been noticed that traders bring in coconut oil from outside the state to sell here, when coconut oil tax was not levied.
"What I have done is I have decided to impose a five percent tax on coconut oil and use the entire proceeds to help the coconut farmers in Kerala by increasing the minimum support price from Rs25 to Rs27," said Issac.
But the new generation segment of the Kerala society was not too happy as they know they will have to pay more for their favourite meals.
"This is not fair at all as now our 'meal' which we have at least once a week will go up by minimum Rs20 and this is too much," said college students spotted in front of a popular branded restaurant in the state capital.
State BJP spokesperson JR Padmakumar said one fails to understand the logic through these flip-flop measures adopted by Issac, while Congress leader Bindu Krishnan said its unfortunate that the minister has hiked the tax on the common man's food items like atta, maida and rava.
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