Agri Bodies Ask Finance Ministry For Input Tax Credit, Direct Benefit Transfer

The Finance Ministry heard the recommendations from agri bodies as part of the second pre-Budget consultation.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chairs the virtual meeting with agri bodies. (Source: FinMinIndia/Twitter)</p></div>
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chairs the virtual meeting with agri bodies. (Source: FinMinIndia/Twitter)

The Ministry of Finance held a virtual meeting with agricultural and agro processing bodies where the key recommendations were for input tax credit for farmers and direct benefit transfer for subsidies.

The ministry heard the recommendations as part of the second pre-Budget consultation, on Tuesday.

Attendees included various bodies representing farmers, fertiliser cooperatives and stakeholder groups for natural/organic farming and millets.

The Bharatiya Krishi Sangh, a pan-Indian farmer welfare organisation, pitched for farmers to receive input tax credits under GST or make all inputs to agriculture GST-free as farmers are producers.

They also requested for a hike in the Kisan Sanman Nidhi policy allocation and the rollout of a direct benefit transfer for assistance, such as a fertiliser subsidy.

The body also called for plantation crops like coffee, tea, rubber, spices, and coconut to be brought under the Agriculture Ministry and covered under crop insurance and natural disaster management.

Some of the other recommendations included a relook at irrigation options, increasing allocation to "Gramin" markets, creating a budget allocation for organic universities, and creating an incentive allocation to encourage farmers to use green energy, like solar power, in irrigation and farming operations.

Manoj Kumar Menon, executive director of the International Competence Center for Organic Agriculture, who was among the attendees, told BQ Prime that he recommended that the area under organic and natural farming be increased.

"India has only captured a little over 1% of the global market in organic products," Menon said.

The area of land under organic and natural farming should reach 7% of the total area of farming in the next five years, he suggested.

He also called for more research into new millet crops and an increase in their agricultural acreage to 2 million hectares in the next two to three years.

Jeffry Rebello, president of the United Partners Association of Southern India, called for higher allocation for the plantation sector in terms of research and development, export promotion, brand building, replanting, and development schemes.

He also suggested that the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products rates be increased and the import duty on compound rubber to be raised from 10% to 25%.