Four reasons why sugar tax needs to be imposed in India, too

A new sugar tax, particularly on fizzy drinks, aims to control childhood obesity in the UK. Here’s why we think India needs to follow suit, but not just on food.

Written by Murali K Menon , Lalitha Suhasini | Updated: March 17, 2016 10:00 pm

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The next time a kid in the UK orders a cola to go with his fries or burger, he, or his parents might just end up paying more for the fizzy drink than for his food. Or, he might end up sharing his soft drink with his buddies. Or maybe, he’ll end up ordering soft drinks less often, making celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s campaign for sugar tax on these beverages, a true success.

In a move to curb childhood obesity, UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne introduced a sugar tax in the new budget, a hard blow to the soft drinks industry. Over 22 million children worldwide, under the age of five are obese, says a study by the United States’s National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Obesity in children has been on a steady rise in India, too, but there is a need for sugar levy on more than just fizzy drinks to bring down the alarming rates of soppiness in this country. Here are some other things that we think need to be taxed for being too sweet to be true.

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Producers of OTT Bollywood movies

Bollywood has long been a fount of soppy, OTT movies, but if there is one film in recent times that should have had a Sugar Tax imposed on it, it would have to be the spectacularly sentimental Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Watching Sooraj Barjatya’s 2015 film, which starred Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor, among others, was like having a tall glass of Java Chip Frappucino mixed with an especially and unreasonably cloying Paal Ada Pradhaman, and then just before intermission, being forcibly drip fed jalebi sugar syrup. For those who watched it and felt nauseous, the English translation of the title (Receive a Treasure Called Love) should have been warning enough.

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Political Sycophancy

Narendra Modi is BJP, BJP is Narendra Modi’. Back in 2012, former BJP MP Harin Pathak wasn’t even being original when he uttered these magnificent words. The former Congress party president Debakanta Baruah had already set the gold standard with his ‘Indira is India, India is Indira’ back in the 1970s. But, as the eventual downfall of both Pathak and Baruah has proven, sycophancy doesn’t always work. Thank god for that.

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Comperes

We are okay with being assaulted with cliches, tepid one-liners and breathless, manufactured excitement, but if there’s one thing we can’t stand at an event, it’s being grouped with everybody else as “all you lovely people”. No, we are not always lovely, we are just human. And never ask us repeatedly to “give a big hand” to some random guy who’s up on the stage. Sometimes, we just like to sit with a drink in our hand and stare into the distance.

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Son worship

Indian parents need to get over their fixation with the male child. Teach him a few basic survival skills – cut the schmaltz and let him cook, pick up after himself – that would make him in turn respect women instead of believing that they’re around to serve as slaves. And of course, it’s good to learn the meaning of rejection early and that no really means no. It’s time to let Nirupa Roy’s all-forgiving Indian mother’s character rest in peace.

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