This would help farmers track status of their requests

The subsidy disbursal system for the purchase of farm implements by farmers in the State is set to go online soon to help farmers track the status of their application.

An assurance on this was made to farmers and the Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers’ Association (AMMA) by Agriculture and Horticulture Principal Secretary M.K. Shankaralinge Gowda at a national meet of tractor and agricultural machinery manufacturers organised jointly by the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore and AMMA in Bangalore on Saturday.

Mr. Gowda said a suitable software would be developed for implementing the scheme.

VAT reimbursement

He also assured the farmers and manufacturers of considering their demand for reimbursement of VAT paid towards the purchase of agricultural machinery under the subsidised scheme. He suggested to them to put up their proposal at a pre-budget meeting on agriculture being held by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on January 22 in Bangalore.

Wanted, innovations

He expressed concern that innovation was missing in development and designing agricultural implements and machinery. Terming the development of a farmer-friendly implement as a challenge, he called upon young agri-engineers to change the lives of farmers through such innovations.

Earlier, AMMA-India president Baldev Singh pointed out that some of the States, including Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat had adopted such an online system for disbursal of subsidy for purchase of farm machinery. Such a system would help farmers track the status of their requests, and said as Karnataka is the country’s IT leader, it should take up the scheme.

Pointing out that farmers were supposed to pay VAT on the agricultural implements and machinery purchased under the subsidy scheme, he said such a system would almost nullify the subsidy benefit. He urged the State governments to waive the tax on subsidised implements.

He also demanded that subsidy component should be increased for hi-tech machinery in a bid to make them affordable to farmers.

Within 45 days

Indian Council of Agricultural Research Deputy Director-General (Engineering) M.M. Pandey stressed the need for emulating the example of the Odisha online model that ensures that a farmer gets subsidy for agricultural implements within 45 days of making an online request. The transparent and fool-proof system would also ensure that the subsidy was not misused, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, UAS-B Vice-Chancellor K. Narayana Gowda observed that it was possible to increase agricultural production by about 20 per cent by opting for farm mechanisation. But there was a dire need to evolve need-based implements and machinery, he said. Expressing concern over shortage of farm labour, he said several farmers were even thinking of shunning agriculture owing to the shortage.

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