Wednesday, July 13, 2016

In the fatness of things

Tele Bhaja Shop in Kolkata
(photo courtesy:
Kerala has introduced a “Fat Tax” on “junk food” like Burgers and Pizzas. Before that I believe Bihar has already a levied a tax on Samosas. (Click here to read Chitra Narayanan’s sharp take in HBL). Both are odd. The first since – I am yet to meet an obese #Malayali. If Coconut Oil and Banana Chips can’t make them fat – nothing else will. And, taxing Samosas could actually threaten the fate of alliance in #Bihar. After all – who can forget Lalu Prasad’s famous declaration – “jab tak Samosa mein rahega aloo…..”

It seems the real reason behind these dyspeptic moves is to make up for the revenue loss on Excise Duty for liquor – post imposition of prohibition.

A few days ago – newspapers said #WestBengal Government was also mulling a liquor ban in the state. That set me wondering – what additional tax can Mamata Banerjee impose. A Fat Tax won’t work – because the problem of Bengalis is not ‘Fat’ but ‘Gaas’ (pronounced “gaash’).

Fried (allegdly) in 'Virgin' Diesel Oil
(photo courstesy

Now to control “Gaas” She may have to target “Mudi-Telebhaja-Chop” (Puffed Rice and Fritters fried in recycled Mustard Oil) – the staple evening snack of Ma, Maati, Manush. Those a little higher on the food chain – dig into the ubiquitous Chicken / Mutton Egg Rolls on the way back from with Paranthas fried in Virgin Diesel Oil, allegedly. But, that can’t work because – it will drive a large vote-bank – street hawkers and street corner Tele-bhaja vendors out of business.

But, eureka !! the “gorment” can think of levying a sur-charge on Gelusil, Zantac, Uni Enzyme and the whole range of antacids and digestive cures – the life line of Bhadraloks.