India to introduce Sugar tax to fight Obesity and Diabetes

The Indian government is planning to tax junk food and sugar-sweetened beverages higher and also be subject to tougher advertising norms in a bid to control obesity and diabetes in the country.

A senior health ministry officer was quoted saying “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,” The ministry is compiling feedback from ministries and will refer the proposal to the finance ministry and the PMO, he added.

Diabetes Foundation and Centre of Nutrition and Metabolic Research estimates show the annual per capita consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in the country rose from around 2 litres per head in 1998 to 11 litres per head in 2014.

The proposal, in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations, is likely to include stringent packaging norms for junk food and soft drinks, energy drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages. While the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has been asked to look at the packaging issues, the ministry is mulling restrictions on endorsement and advertisement of such products, mainly during primetime. Read the whole article here: