SRINAGAR: Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather Thursday said that agriculture is the important sector of the state economy and government is committed to revolutionise it by providing all possible facilities to the farmers of the state.
Rather, according to an official spokesperson, was addressing a pre-budget interactive session here, which was attended by progressive farmers of the Valley ans was organised by J&K State Advisory Board for Development of Kissans.
Among others, the meeting was attended by Vice Chairman, J&K Kissan Board, Radhaysham Sharma, Commissioner, Commercial Taxes, KH Rizvi, Director Agriculture Kashmir, Mushtaq Ahmad Shah, Special Secretary Finance, Shakeel-ur-Rehman, Director Information, Tasaduq Jeelani, Additional Secretary Finance, Showkat Aejaz, Additional Commissioner, Sales Taxes, Rafiq Hakeem, Secretary Kissan Board, GM Mir, officers of departments of Agriculture, Horticulture and Floriculture.
Minister said that this meeting is totally agri-specific which has been convened separately in order to give focussed attention to farmers community.
The minister listened patiently to the suggestions of representatives of fruit growers, vegetable cultivators, progressive farmers, Kissan Board Members of various districts of the Valley and assured that the genuine and concrete suggestions will be considered by the government.
Responding to the demands of setting up of feed plant, hatchery for producing buffer stock of poultry in the valley, Finance Minister said that government has been appreciating besides providing incentives to the entrepreneurs for setting up their hatchery and feed plant. He said that unemployed youth are being encouraged to earn their livelihood with honour and dignity, adding that the youth can choose any kind of entrepreneurship of their choice and government is ready to support them in respect of funding as well as technical guidance.
Referring to equipping farmers with agri implements, the minister said that J&K Agro Industries Ltd has been assigned to provide these implements to farmers on subsidized rates.
The minister said that as many as 18 representatives participated in Thursday’s interactive session and put forth various concrete suggestions, which he said can prove a guiding factor for government to frame future budget with regard to agri sector. Saying that J&K is the first state to set up Kissan Board, Finance Minister hoped the board will work for ensuring progress and prosperity of farmer community, comprising of 75 percent of the total population of the state.
The Minister stressed upon farmers to obtain Kisan Credit Card, as the card is most significant for obtaining loan from banks. He said that government exempted stamp duty on 1.50 lakh loan assistance.
Emphasising for producing sheep, goat, poultry and eggs from the state, Finance Minister said that this step will ensure to give impetus to the economy of the state. Earlier, Vice Chairman, J&K Kissan Board appreciated the measures being taken for exempting toll tax on pesticides, agri equipment, fertilisers and other vital inputs for boosting agri sector in the state. Sharma suggested to make best use of 20 acres of land free of cost being provided by Haryana government for setting up of Mandi in that state. He hoped that the site can prove a better option for marketing our products in the Mandi.
He also suggested for constituting a committee for providing compensation to farmers whose crops were damaged by hail storm last year.
Sharma also advocated for deputing farmers to agri universities to get acquainted with latest trends in agri sector.
On this occasion, a representative from Ganderbal demanded tax free fertilisers, spray pumps, diesel pumps, spare parts. He also demanded setting up of Polygreen houses for growing vegetables on scientific lines, he also suggested certain measures for horticulture, fisheries and other sector for boosting the produce.
Another representative, an MBA entrepreneur from Ganderbal suggested government to provide better facilities to sheep rearers.