'Need measures to give fillip to agri sector'

'Budget needs to have few measures that would give fillip to agriculture sector'

By Ravindra Agrawal,

'The Union Budget that's set to be presented soon by the Finance Minister will need to have a few measures that would give a fillip to the agriculture sector and, also, influence the amount of money in the hands of those in the sector, especially the farmers. The Budget must be agriculture-friendly, which should have proactive steps to improve the viability of small farmers, including animal-based farmers e.g. poultry and fisheries. 

Some of the measures that need to be taken are increasing the budget for building and improving the canals, setting up weather radars in every taluk. Legislation to encourage new people to take up farming needs to be brought in, with a focus on simplification of land among willing parties, and expedited settlements of litigations post-transaction.  

The Budget must address issues of minimum support price, APMC tax on farm produce, and the restriction on the movement of farm produce across various jurisdictions.

The Budget should address the long pending issues of GST pertaining to the agriculture sector. The GST on all the inputs and machinery for the agriculture sector must be in the lowest band of 5%. As of now, the branded seeds are taxed and unbranded seeds are exempt, thus encouraging farmers to buy unbranded seeds with unproven quality.

Farm machinery businesses have to get impaneled by several departments in each state with separate EMD which adds up to crores of rupees across the country, thereby increasing the cost of doing business. Not only the transfer of subsidies should be done through DBT, but all machinery that has been tested by FMTTI should also be automatically approved for subsidies across the country.'

(The writer is MD & Founder of KisanKraft Limited)