Here is some bad news if you are in Kerala and frequent fast food joints. The state government has imposed 'fat tax' on junk food items like burgers, pizzas doughnuts and sandwiches sold in branded restaurants or outlets.
The newly-elected LDF government has imposed a 14.5 per cent tax on fast food items which will affect the revenues of chains like McDonalds and Pizza Hut.
In addition to 'fat tax', the state government has also imposed five per cent tax on packaged food products made out of wheat. There is also a five per cent tax on packaged basmati rice and coconut oil.
Disposable glasses will get costlier after the budget as a whopping 20 per cent tax has been imposed on plastic glasses.
The budget, presented by Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, also said steps would be taken to increase the tax revenue by 25 per cent per annum by initiating various measures including elimination of corruption and implementation of trader-friendly measures.
Stating that the state was passing through a severe financial crisis due to various factors, the budget proposed an 'anti-slowdown package' of Rs 12,000 crore for taking up various development and infrastructure projects like roads, bridges and IT parks.
The 2 hour, 54 minute budget presentation of the finance minister outlined the LDF government's policy of sticking to welfare measures despite the shaky finances of the state.
There has been an increased allocation for the diaspora in the budget. "At present there is an allocation of just Rs 1 lakh in the welfare fund for the return diaspora, and I am increasing it to Rs 10 crore. This is meant to increase the benefits paid out to the needy," said Issac.
He also decided to double the allocation from Rs 12 crore the scheme for rehabilitation of those who have returned.
"The previous government had begun a loan scheme jointly with financial institutions for the diaspora who wish to start a business. But that programme failed to take off due to nonpayment of back-end subsidy upfront. We will ensure that the back-end subsidy is paid up front," said Issac.
He also pointed out that on account of the slowing of the Middle East economy, the fortunes of the diaspora might get affected, which is a cause of concern.
(With inputs from agencies)