Centre Suggests Sugar Tax to Counter Obesity and Diabetes
Health ministry & central food safety regulator want to raise tax on junk food and have tougher advertisements norm
We have another tax in town and this one is on junk food and sugar-sweetened beverages.
According to The Times of India report, the government is planning higher tax and tougher advertising norms to control the increase in number of cases of diabetes in the country. The report read that an inter-ministerial consultation took place on the matter in February.
The health ministry and the central food safety regulator are currently working on a proposal to reduce the consumption of junk food and beverages.
There is a serious effort to control non-communicable diseases, mainly diabetes and cancer. We have a multi-sectoral action plan and consultations are on with different ministries.Health Ministry Official
The health ministry will compile the suggestion and feedback from other ministries and then refer the proposal to the finance ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
The report claims that there is a consensus among ministries and departments to impose strict measures in order to reduce the impact of obesity and diabetes.
Proposal in Accordance With WHO Recommendations
The proposal, in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations, includes strict packaging norms for junk food and soft drinks, energy drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages. While the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been asked to look at the packaging issues, the ministry is planning restrictions on endorsement and advertisement of such products, mainly during prime-time.
Public health agencies and doctors across the world are worried about the increasing number of cases of diabetes and other obesity-related diseases, mainly in middle and low-income countries.
The latest WHO estimates show the prevalence of diabetes in India has doubled from 32 million in 2000 to 63 million in 2013. It is projected to increase to 101.2 million in the next 15 years.
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