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May 27, 2019
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India: Bihar state slaps ‘luxury’ tax on samosas

PATNA, INDIA- The government in one of India’s poorest states is to tax samosas as a “luxury”, International media reports.

The administration in India’s northern Bihar state has involved the humble snack on a list of 23 items that will be taxed at 13.5%, the NDTV news website reports. Among the other items on the list, which was approved in a state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, are mosquito repellent, cosmetics and all sweets costing more than 500 rupees ($7.50; £5.20) per kilo. The extra revenue raised by the tax will help fund development projects in the state, NDTV says.

Described by UNICEF and the World Bank as one of the country’s poorest states, Bihar is in the process of receiving a development package worth 1.65 trillion rupees ($24.7bn; £17bn) from the national government for projects including road, rail, power, and gas supply, the Mumbai-based Economic Times reports.

But as a demonstration that the state government is not all about raising tax revenue, the same state cabinet meeting decided to waive entertainment tax on the forthcoming Bollywood movie Chalk N Duster. The film is about two teachers working at a Mumbai high school, and the Bihar cabinet says it supports its “strong social message”.