After forming the government, Nitish Kumar announced a ban on liquor, for which he was appreciated by many. But to overcome the revenue lost in the liquor business, Grand Alliance decided to mark daily snacks, such as Samosas, as luxury items with an additional 13.5% tax imposed on them.
This list of “luxury” items also includes sweets and salted snacks like Samosa, Kachori and other namkeen. Cosmetics, packaged foods, perfumes and hair oil, along with inverters, auto parts, industrial cables and transformers are a part of the list too. Sand will also be taxed at 13.5%.
This is a highly unexpected move and has shown a serious lack of imagination and/or options of the government. Many of the items listed are consumed or purchased by poor and this seems like a punishment to them just because some people can’t drink. The government may recover the tax lost due to the liquor ban but this will make difficult it for the poor to purchase these small things.
These snacks are sold mostly on dhabas and thelas, and not in packed form. Classifying them as luxury and imposing taxes won’t necessarily help the government make up for revenue loss. The committee should have been more thoughtful and come up with better options like imposing tax on actual LUXURY items like gold jewellery, branded vehicles and many more.
On a lighter note, Lalu Prasad Yadav should think about changing his popular phrase “Jab tak samosa main aloo rahega, Bihar main Laloo rahega”.