Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday presented the Union Budget for 2023-24 (Apr-Mar) in the Lok Sabha. Team FPJ spoke to industry experts from various fields. To gauge the reaction in the field of food sector trade we spoke with Bhimji Bhanushali, Secretary, Grain Rice and Oilseeds Association (GROMA). Here's what he had to say.
As it was the last full budget before the 2024 elections, there have been a lot of expectations from the government. While the Central Government made a much-awaited mega announcement on no income tax payable up to Rs 7 lakh in a year from the 2023-24 financial year, there is not much for traders, opines Bhimji Bhanushali.
“We regret that nothing concrete has been announced regarding the simplification and rationalisation of the GST tax structure which is contrary to the principle of "one market-one tax" and with it, there is a lot of frustration among traders across the country due to the lack of a say in the arbitrary attitude of foreign companies in e-commerce. There must be a level playing field,” said Bhanushali.
PMGKAY free grains supply
Thousands of traders at the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) have to pay a market tax ranging from 5% to 7%. At the same time, they have to pay GST also. The multiple taxes are going to food prices which will be a burden on end consumers, he added. With a good harvest, it is sure that there will be no food inflation next year. In addition, the government has extended the supply of free grains to the poor under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) for one year.
The direct supply of food grains is affecting traders. It has been observed that food grain is given free of cost or at a very low price to underprivileged sections, and a part of it comes back to the market, he said.Instead of a direct supply of food grains, the government can adopt direct cash benefits. This will make more disposable income and it will also help traders and the economy to grow.
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