Saturday, July 02, 2016

Farmers' "indirect tax" crossed Rs 2 lakh crore per annum, says farmers' leader, calls agriculture a "tyrant vocation"

By Our Representative
Well-known farmers’ leader from Punjab Bhupinder Singh Mann has said that the proposal of the Narendra Modi government, to impose income tax on agriculture, will “bury the already dying agriculture”, saying it “exposes” the anti-farmer mindset of the Government of India.
Calling it “a deeprooted conspiracy to finish the agriculture”, in a media statement, Mann, who is national president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), one of India’s biggest farmers’ organizations, said, already the move has become “nonviable” with large number of farmers “committing suicides”, calling agriculture a “tyrant vocation.”
Mann, who is ex-member of Rajya Sabha, said the move suggests the Modi government has “backed out on its promise made in manifesto to implement the Swaminathan commission recommendations.”
Among important recommendations, the Swaminathan commission report, given to the Government of India a decade ago but remaining unimplemented, had said that the minimum support price (MSP) should be the total cost of production plus 50 per cent, even as the a UPA panel had recommended a margin of about 10 per cent more than the cost of production.
The report had said that there is no other profession which has such low return, calling farming as “the riskiest profession in the world due to uncertain weather conditions arising from climate change”.
Insisting that agriculture is the major livelihood source in India, the report had particularly wanted to “bring small farmers out of the poverty trap for ensuring sustainable food security."
Policy makers under the NDA government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, have been insisting that the nation’s progress lies in migration of the rural population to urban areas by developing industry and service sector, which have a much higher rate of growth than agriculture (click HERE).
According to Mann, farmers are the “already victims of a very high indirect tax”. He adds, “As per the data of Ministry of Commerce report published in 1995, farmers are subjected to indirect tax of Rs 9,872 crore per year.”
Quoting another report, prepared by the task force on agriculture under Sharad Joshi in 2001, Mann said, farmers are “subjected to indirect tax of Rs 1,13,000 crores due to different restrictions imposed on agriculture.”
Making his own estimation, Mann said, “Indirect taxation is increasing every year and is estimated to have reached Rs. 2,00,000 crore per year in 2015. This indirect tax or negative aggregate measure of support to agriculture, is the primary reason for high indebtedness of agriculture which is forcing the farmers to commit suicides.”
“Instead of waiving the loan on farmers, this government is planning to impose income tax on agriculture which will completely kill the agriculture sector”, Mann said, adding, “Farmers are not paid appropriate price of their produce and the same time they are forced to by the input materials at the market price.”
He added, “Restrictions imposed on agriculture are like ‘sanctions’ imposed by hostile countries like US imposed on Iraq and Iran in the past. This is shocking. The government has imposed sanctions on farmers who feed the entire nation.”

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