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Farmers Demand GST Exemption On Agricultural Machinery & Farm Inputs

Farmers have asked for the removal of GST on agricultural implements. They also want crop insurance for sugarcane

Chintu Das
B.C. Patil
B.C. Patil

Farmers have asked for the removal of GST on agricultural implements, such as fertilizers, to reduce input costs, as well as the establishment of an agriculture officer in each Gram Panchayat.

The topic was raised during B.C. Patil's visit to Thaluru village in Mysuru district on Friday to participate in a "day with a progressive farmer" initiative that has been popular in recent months.

The concept entails the Minister, accompanied by officials from the department of agriculture, district administration, and Zilla panchayat, interacting with farmers and learning about the issues that they face, as well as imbibing a few practices that are being followed and could be spread to other farmers for emulation.

Karnataka State Sugarcane Cultivators Association members met with the Minister and informed him of a number of difficulties impacting the agriculture industry.

They also requested government intervention to stop fertiliser dealers from creating "artificial scarcity" and then selling it at a higher price on the illicit market. According to the association members, the dealers refused to supply fertilisers until the farmers purchased micronutrients, as a consequence of which farmers were obliged to pay despite their severe financial circumstances.

The Minister gave the officials orders to fix the situation. Farmers also encouraged the Minister to include sugarcane in crop insurance coverage. Crop insurance does not yet cover commercial crops like sugarcane and tobacco.

The Minister stated that he would take any action necessary at the state level and instructed the officials to investigate this issue. The Minister reacted similarly to the proposal for the GST to be abolished on agriculture-related equipment.

Farmers demanded that the government appoint an agricultural officer to each Gram Panchayat who would serve as a liaison between the government and the farmers. According to the farmers' group, the Minister stated that the government plans to hire a few diploma holders in agriculture in the near future.

Patil, who spoke to a group of farmers in Thaluru village, said the current initiative was a step toward making agriculture viable and instilling confidence in farmers to prevent them from switching to non-agricultural employment.

According to the Minister, the government has made a number of steps to instill pride in agriculture among the younger generation. It is hoped that by spending a day with farmers, any obstacles hampering agriculture at the local level can be resolved. The government had created the Vidyanidhi programme, which provided scholarships to children of farmers. Farmers' subsidies were credited straight to their savings bank accounts, bypassing intermediaries.

Patil stated that the government places a strong focus on micro-irrigation and agricultural mechanization and that the sector is given high attention by the government. Minister S.T. Somashekar, the district in-charge, as well as top officials from the Department of Agriculture and others, were in attendance.

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