Patanjali founder Baba Ramdev and the Rashtriya Swamseval Sangh (RSS) are reportedly pressurising the Central finance and health ministries to levy heavy taxes on companies selling soft drinks with high sugar content. The move is being seen as a direct attempt at affecting the India operations of soft-drink giants like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.
Firstpost.com reported “highly placed sources” as saying that both Ramdev and the RSS are “lobbying hard” to get the tax introduced in the next budget scheduled to be presented in the Parliament in January 2017.
Previously, a GST panel led by Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Arvind Subramanian had recommended 40% “sin tax” on products like soft drinks, tobacco and luxury cars. For other items. the GST was suggested at 17-18%. There have been rumours that Patanjali is planning to launch its own version of ‘desi’ soft-drink to take on companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The company already sells some fruit juices and other FMCG products.
However, Patanjali spokesperson SK Tijarwala refused to comment on his company’s plans for launching soft-drinks, firstpost.com reported. Instead, he said that the demand to control sugar and fat-based products are not peculiar to Patanjali and it is a global demand these days.
Patanjali has seen an exponential rise in the last four year and it targets revenues to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore by the next financial year.