Kerala Current Affairs

Kerala Government launches first ever Water Metro project in the country

Kerala Government has launched Kochi Water Metro project, the first ever Water Metro project in the country. It was launched by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at Kochi.

The project aims to provide water connectivity to people living between islands in the Kochi agglomeration area and the city.

Key Facts

  • Kochi Water Metro project is an integrated water transport project developed as feeder service to the Kochi Metro Rail. It will become operational in two years.
  • The project will implemented by the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL). It will be built at an estimated cost of seven hundred and forty seven crores Rupees.
  • The project is funded by German Development Bank (Kfw). In this regard KMRL has signed agreement with Kfw.
  • The Water Metro will connect the islands spread across Kochi backwaters to main city.
  • The project involves construction of jetties, roads and other basic facilities apart from boat services. It would make the urban water transport network in the city modern and safer.

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Nimi Sunilkumar wins Gourmand World Cookbook Award

Cookbook author and food blogger Nimi Sunilkumar has won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for 2015-16.

She was bestowed with this award for her cookbook “4 o’clock Temptations of Kerala”. It was chosen for the award in the ‘Best Indian Cuisine Cookbook’ section.

The cookbook is enriched with photos and details of 54 recipes from Kerala and each of these recipes are said to be specific to each district.

Nimi Sunilkumar has won award for the second time and earlier in 2013, her Lip-smacking Dishes of Kerala was selected third ‘Best Local Cuisine Book in the World’ category.

About Nimi Sunilkumar

  • She is a culinary teacher and dietician at Tata High Range School, Munnar.
  • She had started her food blog ‘Nimi’s Culinary Ventures’ in 2009.
  • She began offering ‘Lip-smacking cooking classes,’ on traditional Kerala cooking to tourists in 2012. She has taught traditional Kerala cooking to her students from US, Australia, and UK.

Gourmand World Cookbook Award: It is famously known as the Oscar award in the field of cookery. This is the only international award in this particular field. The award is organized to honour the best food and wine books either printed or digital.

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Kerala Government imposes 14.5 per cent fat tax on Junk Food

Kerala Government has proposed a “Fat Tax” on fast food items like burgers, pizzas, donuts and pasta etc. served in branded restaurants in a bid to discourage the junk food culture.

The first-of its-kind move in the country was announced in the maiden budget of the CPI(M)-led LDF Government in Kerala presented by Finance Minister Dr. T.M. Thomas Issac.

The revised state budget for 2016-17 expects the Fat tax will add an additional Rs.10 crore to the state coffers. The fat tax’s major concern is with issues related to public health more than revenue generation.

Implications

  • The revenue impact of the fat tax will be modest, but it could have a big impact nationwide on the food industry if other states follow suit.
  • Companies will pass on this tax partially or fully to the customer which may make the customer cut back on pizzas and burgers.
  • Critics believe that imposing the tax is not going to change consumption patterns but will have an impact on the volume of such food products sold.
  • It will discourage junk food and play some role in healthy lifestyle of people as Kerala has one of the highest numbers of patients of diabetes or hypertension in the country caused due lifestyle changes.

Fat tax: It proposed tax on foods or drinks judged to be unhealthy and whose consumption is believed to be linked to rising obesity levels. It is similar to the sin tax imposed on items such as alcohol or tobacco to discourage their consumption. Fat tax on junk food has been successfully imposed in European countries such as Denmark and Hungary.

Note: Kerala isn’t the first state to impose so-called Fat tax. In January 2016, Bihar government decided to impose a 13.5% value-added tax (VAT) on items such as salted peanuts, samosas, sweets and a few branded snacks.

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