Close on the heels of declaring prohibition, the newly re-elected Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has sprung surprise and has redefined luxury. The state government has imposed a 13.5% luxury tax on sweets costing over Rs 500 a kg, salted snacks like samosas, kachoris and namkeens costing over Rs. 600 per kg, scents and hair oil costing over Rs. 2,000 and on items like inverters, auto parts, industrial cables and transformers.
Sand, cosmetic items scent and hair oil would also attract the luxury tax. This tax has also been applied on the mosquito repellent, and a few other household items to fill up the state coffers for "development work".
Earlier, electrical items were taxed at 8% and sand at 5%, while snacks like samosas and kachoris attracted no tax.
Predictably, the opposition has dubbed the move anti-poor. Analysts also think this move by Nitish Kumar can politically backfire. “Samosas are a basic dhaba item enjoyed by people with low income. At least talk about imposing a tax on items that are taxable and acceptable. This is nothing but lack of imagination. I am waiting for a samosa march in Bihar”, said a New Delhi-based sociologist.
The oldest written reference to the Samosa dates back to the period of 995 AD – 1077 AD, in an Iranian historian, Abolfazl Beyhaqi work. He mentions about it in his work ‘Tarikh-e-Beyhaghi’, considered as most authentic account of the Ghaznavid empire, which was spread from Iran to Afghanistan (including parts of Pakistan and India) and in 2016, if the Bihar Government proceeds with the decision, it will perhaps be remembered for making it a luxury item!!!