Since 2018, the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Innovation (CHEPI), based at Imperial College Business School, has been developing Health-GPS, a policy simulation tool with the ability to model epidemiological and socio-demographic dynamics for populations following the deployment of policies in any given country. Health-GPS can estimate individual exposures to risk-factors associated with chronic diseases, the incidence of these chronic conditions and the resulting impact on the health system and economy. The model allows to estimate the impact of policies, or interventions, designed to limit exposure to specific risk factors, including fiscal policies aimed at improving diet and nutrition. In July 2017, India increased their goods and services tax on aerated beverages and lemonades from 12% to 28%, joining a large number of countries worldwide that have applied taxes on sugar sweetened beverages over the past decade. An extension of this fiscal policy approach to curb the consumption of foods high in salt, sugar, and fat could lead to further improvements in dietary quality for the Indian population, but the potential benefits of such a strategy have not yet been explored.
The objective of this work is to use the Health-GPS model to estimate the potential impact of a tax on HFSS foods in India, including its distribution across different socio-economic groups in the population. The analysis will involve reconciling a broad range of data to produce coherent policy recommendations and estimations that can be used to inform the design, implementation, and evaluation of a tax on HFSS foods.