After facing protests from people associated with agricultural mandis and farmer groups in the state, the Rajasthan government has reduced the 2 per cent Krishak Kalyan fees on agricultural produce which was introduced from earlier this month.
In a meeting held on Thursday, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot ordered that in case of agricultural produce such as jowar, bajra, maize, cumin and isabgol for which the mandi charges are 0.5 per cent, the Krishak Kalyan fee will be charged as Rs. 0.5 per cent instead of 2 per cent which was originally decided by the state government.
Similarly, in the case of oilseeds, pulses, wheat and other agricultural produce on which the mandi charges are 1 per cent and 1.60 per cent, the revised Krishak Kalyan fee will be 1 per cent in place of the decided 2 per cent.
Gehlot took the decision after meeting representatives from food product trader associations across the state. Wool will be kept exempted from the fees, stated an official release from the government.
Mandi traders throughout Rajasthan had gone on strike following the government’s decision to levy the fee, which the government has said will be deposited in the Krishak Kalyan Kosh – dedicated to the welfare of farmers in the state.
After taking the decision to reduce the Krishak Kalyan fees, Gehlot said that lakhs of people associated with the food products business and food processing units will get relief as a result of this move. The Chief Minister added that the state government understood the difficulties being faced by businesses and traders because of the Krishak Kalyan fees.
Earlier, the opinions of public representatives such as ministers, MLAs and MPs were also sought by the Chief Minister on the subject during video conferencing.
“We welcome the move of the government to reduce the Krishak Kalyan fees because the earlier charge of 2 per cent was resulting in losses for us and the farmers. It would have also encouraged black marketing and led to goods from Rajasthan being sold to other states where the government charges are less,” said Babulal Gupta, chairman, Rajasthan Khadya Padharth Vyapar Sangh.
Last year, Gehlot, in the modified state budget, had announced the creation of the Krishak Kalyan Kosh for the purpose of ensuring they get fair price for their produce and to strive towards “ease of doing farming”.
Accordingly, the government brought in The Rajasthan Agricultural Produce Markets (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, which was promulgated by the Governor on May 1, amending Section 17 of the Rajasthan Agricultural Produce Market Act, 1961.
The newly-inserted section 17A stated: “The market committee shall collect Krishak Kalyan fee from the licensees in the prescribed manner on the agricultural produce brought or bought or sold by them in the market area at such rate as may be specified by the state government, by notification in the official gazette. The fee collected shall be deposited in the Krishak Kalyan Kosh constituted under section 19-A.”
Following this, in a gazette notification published on May 5, the state levied the rate of Krishi Kalyan Fees on agricultural produce brought, bought or sold in mandis as Rs 2 on every Rs 100.
Around 247 mandis in Rajasthan had gone on strike since May 6 and had reopened following talks between trader groups and the government.
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