Agri Business

Budget has no specific announcement for plantation sector

Our Bureau Coimbatore | Updated on February 01, 2020

File photo   -  THE HINDU

Lack of specific announcement for the crisis ridden plantation sector seems to put the industry in a spot. The sector is not only impinged due to inadequate fund allocation but facing challenges ever since it was opened to global competition under WTO. Signing of regional FTAs further added to the sector’s woes as it resulted in a surge in import of plantation commodities.

The industry has been submitting its wish list to the Government year after year. The sector’s main plea at the pre-budget Consultative meeting was higher allocation of funds to the Commodity Boards considering the signifant reduction in allocation in the earlier budgets.

UPASI President AL RM Nagappan said the present budget addressed this issue, albeit marginally. “The marginal increase in allocation (ie) ₹200 cr for Tea Board, ₹225 for Coffee Board, ₹221.34 crore for Rubber Board and ₹120 cr for Spices Board is a welcome move. Further in the revised estimate for 2019-20, the allocation of funds were increased by ₹47.64 cr to Tea Board, ₹48 cr to Coffee Board, ₹72 cr to Rubber Board and ₹13 cr to Spices Board vis-a-vis the budget estimate

He welcomed the announcement on review of the Rules of Origin requirement - particularly for certain sensitive items, strengthening provisions of safeguard duties - applied when a surge in imports affects the domestic industry. “This safeguard provision will help monitor import of natrual rubber and pepper,” the UPASI Chief said.

Certain issues such as implementation of the recommendations made by the inter-ministerial committee for sharing social cost, fixing minimum support price for plantation commodities as per M S Swaminathan Committee recommendations etc remain unaddressed.

Published on February 01, 2020

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