Budget disappoints growers in Kodagu

Budget disappoints growers in Kodagu

Budget disappoints growers in Kodagu

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s statement while presenting the budget on Thursday, indicating the cut down of subsidy to fertilisers in the coming days, has not gone down well with the coffee growers of Kodagu.

The Finance Minister in his budget made it a point to say that high subsidy offered by the government to food, oil and fertilisers was the reason for prevailing inflation and the government intends to overhaul the subsidy regime.

If Rs 2.47 lakh crore was set aside as subsidy to the above mentioned three categories in the last budget, the amount reserved in the new budget is Rs 2.51 lakh crore, which is only 2.5 per cent higher than the last budget.

In the interim budget presented in last February, Rs 72,970 crore subsidy was given to fertilisers, but in this budget, the amount has been reduced to Rs 67,960 crore. This indicates all chances of a hike in fertiliser price in the days to come.

This would have a direct impact on coffee and black pepper growers like their other agri counterparts, as they are largely dependent on fertilisers for nurturing coffee plants and pepper vines. 

As the oil subsidy too has been reduced, it is likely to lead to an increase in LPG and kerosene price. The subsidy given to oil products in the last interim budget is Rs 85,480 crore, while this year it has been decreased to Rs 63,426 crore. However, the food subsidy has continued as it is.

Mixed response

Meanwhile, the budget has evoked mixed response in Kodagu region. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Coffee Board Member S MKaverappa flayed the government’s move to bring down the subsidy of fertilisers.

This would increase the production cost of coffee and also affect the production. The prime minister is not showing the same interest he has towards industries, to that of agriculture, he said.

Small Scale Coffee Growers’ Association President Cheranda Nanda Subbaiah expressed unhappiness over the government for not waiving off the loans of coffee growers in the budget.

“Last year, growers lost their yield due to heavy rains and this year the coffee plants are dried up due to lack of rain. In both ways, growers are the sufferers. Not waiving off the loan and reducing the subsidy to fertilisers will have adverse affect on coffee growers,” Subbaiah forecasted.

Varied views

General public had varied views on the budget. Sudhakar, a resident of Madikeri said that it would have been better if the income tax ceiling was raised upto Rs 3 to Rs 5 lakh. It would have helped middle class people, he said.

Another city dweller, Prasad lauded the government for hiking the price of tobacco products. At least, the youth can stay away from cigarette to some extent.

“The tax on goods and commodities used by laymen has been reduced while the tax on luxury items has been increased which a is a good change. Overall the budget is good,” he said.

An employee, Hema welcomed the Central government’s move to raise the income tax ceiling.
DH News Service

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