Special Correspondent

‘No worthwhile investment in the farm sector'

KOCHI: The budget has failed to provide a direction to the farm sector which had been receiving poor patronage for many years, according to M.C. George, a leader of Indian Farmers Movement (Infam).

Successive governments had announced schemes worth several crores of rupees, but failed to allocate adequate funds for purposeful schemes such as the farm loan waiver. There was no worthwhile investment in the farm sector. Irrigation projects had been neglected. The farmer was unable to invest in the farming schemes. The banks were hesitant to extend loan to farmers. The farming sector would face doom if the government failed to invest in it, he said.

The reduction in stamp duty would not help either the buyer or seller as the government had already announced inflated prices for the land in the newly introduced fair value scheme.

M. Radhakrishnan, president of the Ernakulam district Petroleum Dealers Association, said the petroleum dealers had urged the government to reduce the local tax on petrol, but the government failed to act on it. The State government would receive an additional revenue of Rs.400 crore annually from the tax on petroleum products, based on the new prices of petrol and diesel, announced by the Union Government recently, he said. A reduction on the rate of aviation turbine fuel could have been allowed and such a move would have improved the prospects of tourism sector, he said.

Welcome move

Najeeb Zacheria, MD of Abad Builders, said the stamp duty reduction was a long pending demand and the builders would welcome the move. It would give a boost to the real estate sector, according to him. The green apartments scheme would also be advantageous to the sector. The benefits could be passed to the customer, he said. Though there had been much talk about projects in the public-private participation (PPP) mode, the budget did not have any mention of PPP schemes, he said.

E.S. Jose, the former president of the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the budget had rekindled hope in the commercial enterprises. Schemes for development of Infopark would provide the much-needed employment on a large scale. Reduction in stamp duty would help the real estate sector to grow. The funds for infrastructure projects in Kochi would go a long way in ensuring the progress of the city. The hike in tax on liquor was a step in the right direction as it could reduce the drinking malaise and benefit society, he said.