Jammu, December 24 (Scoop News) –The Minister for Finance and Ladakh Affairs, Abdul Rahim Rather has said that, in view of the primary importance of agriculture in socio-economic emancipation, the government has made the entire agriculture sector more or less tax free. “Soon after taking over in 2008, the coalition government in its very first Budget exempted toll tax on import of fertilizers, agriculture tools, weedicides and pesticides besides minimizing import duty on day-old chicks to promote poultry sector in the state in a big way. The tax concessions on agriculture and allied sectors will continue in future budgets also”, he added.
“J&K is the only state in the whole country where agriculture sector is more or less tax free”, Rather said while addressing a massive gathering of farmers, panches, sarpanches and senior citizens at Surora in Gagwal block of district Samba today, who had gathered there in connection with Farmer’s awareness camp.
The one day farmer’s Awareness Camp was organized by the J&K State Advisory Board for development of Kissans.
Rather said that the present government also constituted, first of its kind in the country, J&K Kissan Development Board for looking after the matters related to farming community and the agriculture sector. The Board is doing well and acts as a bridge between the farmers and the government. He asked the board members, which has representation from all the districts of the state, to submit its recommendations from time to time to the government for the development of agriculture sector and betterment of farmers and assured that their recommendations will be given due consideration.
The Minister said that regular pre-budget discussions are being held with the Kissan Welfare Board to incorporate their suggestions in the budget proposals for giving boost to the agriculture and allied sectors.
Rather said that agriculture is the mainstay of state’s economy and there was dire need to exploit the tremendous potential in agriculture and allied sectors in the state. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, popularly known as Bapu Ji, Rather said that the prosperity of the country can be ensured only when its villages are developed fully because 80% of the population of the country lives in villages.
Rather said that ensuring timely availability of quality seeds and fertilizers alongwith adequate irrigation facility are the three main inputs for increasing agriculture production and productivity and enjoined upon the officers and field agencies of the concerned departments to coordinate in this regard to give further impetus to the agriculture activities in the state. He said the 79-kms Rawi Tawi river constructed from Basantpur to Chak Salarian by the Sher-i-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah will be further extended to exploit the full irrigation potential in the area, as soon as the dispute between J&K and Punjab Government is settled, which is presently under examination in the Supreme Court.
Rather hoped that efforts of the present dispensation would yield better dividends and the state would become self sufficient in agriculture produce.
The Vice Chairman of the Kissan Development Board, Rashpal Singh on this occasion underscored the need for a comprehensive agriculture policy in the state and called for constituting farmers Self Help Groups on the pattern of Gujarat state so that their living conditions are improved in an organized manner.
He extended thanks to the Finance Minister for lending whole hearted support to the Board in its functioning and assured that no stone will be left unturned to come upto the expectations of the government.
MLA, Hiranagar, Durga Dass, District Development Commissioner, Samba, Mubarak Singh, Chief Agriculture Officer, Ashok Malhotra and Ex-Director Agriculture, O. P. Khajuria were also present on the occasion.