The Rajasthan Government has extended the concessional rates under the farmers’ welfare cess for three months until June 30 amid protest by traders. Due to a delay in taking a decision before the model code of conduct set in, the State Cabinet could not extend it for one year, which was the practice earlier.

businessline reported on March 30 about the a likely rise in the cess in the absence of any extension after March 31.

Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), the farmer outfit affiliated with RSS, had taken up the matter with the Rajasthan Government, sources said. The validity of the concessional rates, prevalent since March 2021, was to expire on March 31. The State Agriculture Department issued a brief order on Sunday announcing the extension until June 30.

The State generates about ₹600 crore from mandi cess and about ₹300-350 crore from farmer welfare cess every year. The State is likely to make clear its views during the Budget in June-July on the issue of continuing the farmer welfare cess at concessional rates, sources said.

Info to mandis

As there was no extension earlier, mandis (market yards) were informed on March 27 to levy the Farmer Welfare Cess at the rates prevailed before March 1, 2021. Rajasthan had introduced farmer welfare cess in May 2020 after the Covid pandemic, but rates were reduced in 2021.

As per the May 22, 2020 notification of the State government, the rate of farmer welfare cess was zero on wool, 0.50 per cent on jowar, millet, maize and Isabgol, 2 per cent on fruits and vegetables and 1 per cent on the remaining agricultural commodities.

But, during last three years from 2021-22 to 2023-24, the government issued notifications from time to time, reducing the rate of farmer welfare cess at 1 per cent on fruits and vegetables, and at 0.5 per cent on other agricultural commodities including jowar, millet, maize and Isabgol. No cess on wool also continued.