Senior cooperators Dileepbhai Sanghani and NAFCUB President Jyotindrabhai Mehta participated in a high-voltage meeting organized by the BJP Economic Cell just prior to the tabling of the union budget on February 1, in Delhi last week.
The per-budget meeting presided over by BJP’s Economic Cell Convener Gopal Krishna Agarwal was an attempt by the ruling party to know peoples’ expectations at the grass roots level through such leaders who are in contact with them. Among many cooperators owing allegiance to BJP, it was Sanghani and Mehta who are said to have made it.
“Since a large meeting with several representatives leads to a situation of chaos, the leadership decided to invite only a few”, said one of the participants on condition of anonymity. There were about 16 people drawn from across the country including Maharashtra, Andhra and Gujarat and they represented different organizations, he added.
The two cooperative leaders- Sanghani and Mehta are believed to have raised several issues related to cooperative. Talking to Indian Cooperative Sanghani said there was a discussion on the issue of policy related to subsidy and taxation.
Elaborating, Sanghani said the purpose of giving subsidy to a sector gets defeated when the heavy tax is imposed on the finished product. He cited the case of Ghee which attracts 18% GST. While a subsidy is given for keeping cows or buffalos, a farmer is taxed heavily when he produces Ghee, defeating the very purpose, he is said to have explained in the meeting.
Leaders shared their field experiences on a host of issues including the current format of crop insurance, TDS on Primary Agricultural Societies, Income Tax on co-operative banks active in giving loans to farmers, subsidies in the dairy sector, etc.
We feel that the format of Crop Insurance needs to be tweaked a little to make it more farmer friendly, said Sanghani. He also raised the issue of income tax on such co-op entities which work for poor and downtrodden.
The informal get-together was also briefed by the co-op leaders about the introduction of income tax in co-ops in the UPA rule. The leaders emphasized the need to do away with it sooner than later.
“Since we aim to double farmers’ income we have to understand that the profit earned by such co-ops after all passes on to farmers only in the form of enhanced dividends”, argued Sanghani before the participants.
The recommendations of the meeting which took place in the BJP headquarters in Delhi on Friday, would be presented before the Union Finance Minister who has also separately met cooperative leaders earlier.
“The difference between the two is that while this was a grass-roots report, presentation before the Minister is usually a formal and routine affair”, said a BJP leader.