What the Farming Community Wants From Budget 2019?
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Agriculture is the mainstay of the Indian economy. Being the second most populous country in the world, India’s farms need to well-equipped to take care of the food requirements. Gradually, as technology makes entry into the agricultural sector, crop cultivation and other mammoth tasks are starting to find organization. However, development needs funds, which the sector is in dire need of.
Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to table her maiden budget on July 5. As representatives of various sectors put forward their expectations, the farming community is also hoping to get their dilemma heard. So what can government do for its farmlands? Let’s explore:
The Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (KPFBA) has urged the Government of India to consider all poultry farming activities as ‘Agriculture’ under the Income Tax Act. Apparently, the poultry sector is exposed to all types of natural vagaries like agricultural crops and is rural-based, giving employment mostly to the unskilled and rural population.
Looking at the high risk, the committee is arguing that poultry farmers should be able to avail the tax benefits as other agri-farmers. “Poultry will play a key role in inclusive growth of the rural economy and thereby help to achieve Government’s ambitious plan of doubling farmers’ income,” said KPFBA President Akhilesh Babu as quoted by a media report.
The dairy industry is an important vertical of agriculture and so are the related entities, all of which should be considered during the budget. Considering the potential dairy has in providing good nutrition in an affordable manner, Gaurav Haran, the CEO of MilkLane believes that the government should incentivize the sector for promoting higher consumption.
“Tax reductions in value-added dairy products would accelerate higher adoption thereby encouraging more investment into product’s research and development that can further help dairy consumption. Incentives to SMEs in building cold chain infrastructure, that is critical for the sector, would help reduce wastage and improve the quality of the products,” he shared.
The farming community is currently facing a crisis of appropriate job creation. “It is becoming amply clear that agriculture cannot support the existing workforce dependent on it, leave alone create new jobs. A lot of the surplus agricultural workforce is being absorbed directly into services, but largely in unskilled jobs,” feels Shankar Prasad, the Founder of Pureplay skin sciences.
In the interim budget presented on February 1st, Union Minister Piyush Goyal had proposed the allocation of INR 1,40,764 crores to the agriculture sector from INR 57,600 crores in 2018-19. PM-Kisan Scheme was also introduced, allocating INR 6000 per family per year which turns out to be INR 4 per day per person considering a family of four.