Farmers, agriculture input dealers oppose GST on fertilizers and pesticides

By Times Of India on 01 Jul 2017 | read
BATHINDA: Fertilizer and pesticide dealers of Mansa and Barnala districts pulled down the shutters on Tuesday to protest against the imposition of Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1. Moreover, seven farmer outfits have also convened a joint meeting on June 30 to decide a course of action in the wake of the new taxation policy.

With the GST coming into force, fertilizers, which are currently exempt from tax, will attract a tax rate of 12%. Pesticides and insecticides with a 12.5% excise duty, are being bracketed under 18% of the GST.

Mansa fertilizer dealer association president Tarsem Chand said, "Earlier with no tax, 50kg bag of urea was being sold at Rs 284 to farmers. With 12% GST, its cost would increase by Rs 35. The 50kg bag of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) till now was being sold for Rs 1,020. Its cost will increase by Rs 123 per bag post GST. Though this burden will fall on farmers, our investment and paperwork too will increase."

"We are opposing levying of GST on fertilizers and hiking the tax on pesticides as it will increase our investment and put extra burden on us with more paperwork," said a fertilizer dealer Sanjay Garg from Barnala.

As per agriculture department officials, nearly 7.5 lakh tonnes of DAP, 30 lakh tonnes urea and 5,500 tonnes of pesticides and insecticides are consumed in Punjab every year.

By factoring in the new tax, it would add a burden of Rs 500 crore on the farmers.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri said, "The farmers, who are already reeling under severe economic hardships and committing suicides, will be hit hardest due to the imposition of GST. We have decided to hold a joint meeting of seven farmer bodies on June 30 where discussions will be held about the impact of GST on peasants and further course of action to oppose it will be decided."