Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have extended highest subsidies under different programmes, including those for safety purposes and for kerosene, to their fishermen in 2018-19, India has informed the World Trade Organization (WTO).

These states have extended the subsidies for purposes like providing navigational aids, sales tax on high speed diesel, motorisation of traditional boats, reimbursement of sales tax on purchase of diesel for fishing boats and sales tax exemption on industrial kerosene.

Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have provided subsidies worth Rs 247.4 crore, Rs 243.6 crore, Rs 180 crore and Rs 109 crore in 2018-19, respectively, according to the data provided by India to the WTO.

The other states and union territories which extended the support include Maharashtra (Rs 54.7 crore), Kerala (Rs 41.9 crore), Goa (Rs 16.5 crore), West Bengal (Rs 8.4 crore), and Odisha (Rs 3.3 crore).

The union territories (UTs) include Andaman and Nicobar, Daman and Diu and Puducherry.

The communique to the WTO, India said, contains information on programmes granted or maintained in respect of fisheries sector by the central government as well as various state governments and UTs for the financial year 2018-19.

“The information provided in this notification is for transparency purposes in order to clarify the operation of programmes or measures,” the country’s communique added.

The data assumes significance as some developed countries demand end of these subsidies.

On the other hand, developing countries such as India want to protect its low-income and resource-poor fishermen for whom it is a matter of livelihood.

Under the global trade norms, members of the WTO have to notify these subsidies. WTO is a Geneva-based multi-lateral body which frames rule for global trade. India has been a member since January 1995.