Addressing the concerns of protesting farmers, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government’s new farm laws will not negatively impact the mandi system in India.
Narendra Tomar said that APMCs are governed by state laws and the Centre’s new Trade Act does not impinge on the functioning of mandis. (Photo: PTI)
A constant refrain among the farmers protesting nationwide has been the fear that the Centre’s new farm laws will lead to the scrapping of mandis and leave them to the mercy of big corporates. The main cause of concern behind these ongoing farmers’ protests has been the continued taxation of the government-run APMC markets while private players get tax exemptions.
Addressing these concerns, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government’s new farm laws will not negatively impact the mandi system in India. Speaking to India Today News Director Rahul Kanwal, Narendra Tomar said that APMCs are governed by state laws and the Centre’s new Trade Act does not impinge on the functioning of mandis.
Explaining why the private purchase of the farmers’ produce has been exempted from taxation, Narendra Singh Tomar said, “We did not want to impose a tax on the farmer’s additional earning. If we would have taxed private purchase, the consumer would have extracted the cost from the farmer ultimately and we didn’t want that.”
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Narendra Singh Tomar said that most states have reduced the taxation of government APMCs to a minimum and will continue to do so in the future. “Madhya Pradesh reduced the cess to 0.5 per cent. Punjab and Haryana have significantly reduced the tax on paddy. All such decisions are taken by states. Any change will take some time to implement,” Narendra Tomar said.
Speaking specifically about farmers from Punjab and Haryana who are protesting against the new farm laws, Narendra Tomar said, “17 states have already implemented the new laws. But sometimes some misconceptions are created. In Punjab and Haryana, the mandi system is strong, so a perception was created that APMCs will now be finished.”
The minister also said that the tax collected from government APMCs will benefit farmers in the long run. “Our aim with the new farm laws is to increase competitiveness, ensure farmers get a fair price and that they are able to do interstate trade freely. Whatever tax is collected, the benefit goes to the farmer eventually.”