The government is likely to impose a tax on ‘unhealthy’ foods to tackle obesity

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The Center plans to impose a tax on foods high in sugar, fat and salt to tackle the country’s growing obesity problem. The Centre’s think tank, Niti Aayog, examines the evidence to understand what steps India can take to tackle rising obesity. The think tank mentioned in its report said that the incidence of overweight and obesity is increasing among children, adolescents and women in India.

Currently, unbranded namkeens, bhujias, vegetable crisps and snack foods are subject to 5% GST, while for unbranded and packaged items the GST rate is 12%.

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) 2019-2020, the percentage of obese women decreased from 20.6% in 2015-2016 to 24%, while the percentage of men increased to 22, 9%.

“A national consultation on the prevention of maternal, adolescent and child obesity was organized under the chairmanship of MP (Health), Niti Aayog, on June 24, 2021, to discuss policy options to tackle the problem.

“Niti Aayog, together with IEG and PHFI, is reviewing the available evidence to understand what actions India can take, such as front-of-package labelling, marketing and advertising of HFSS foods, and taxation of foods high in fat, sugar, and salt,” the report says.

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