Discussion on budget organised
CHENNAI: The Union budget for 2010-11, which has raised allocations for agriculture, has not stated measures to step up food grain productivity, M.R. Sivaraman, former Revenue Secretary to the Government of India said on Wednesday.
Participating in a discussion on the budget under the auspices of the Tamil Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Sivaraman pointed out that productivity of paddy had not increased in the last ten years while that of wheat had increased only marginally.
“The per-hectare yield of agriculture in India is the lowest in the world,” he said.
The per capita availability of pulses had dropped from 510 gram per person to 430 gram per person in the last two decades. A food grain crisis was imminent unless concrete measures were launched to boost agricultural productivity. However, as a policy document, the budget makes no outline of this, he said.
Mr. Sivaraman also called for administrative reforms to ensure that the support measures and schemes implemented for farmers reached the beneficiaries. The budget too had acknowledged the gaps between policy and implementation in its reference to the “weakness in Government”, he said.
R. Periasami, Commissioner of Customs (Air) said the trade sector only stood to benefit from the reliefs and simplification of procedures provided by the budget.
K. Vaitheeswaran, tax consultant, said the move towards bringing more services under the Service Tax net would drive many transactions underground.
In the case of a sector like the film industry, a Service Tax levy could even trigger litigation as the stated legal position in the State was that a film copyright was classed under goods and exempted from VAT, he said.
Joseph Dominic, former Chief Commissioner of Customs, said the budget which reflected a substantial revenue mobilisation effort was more a “tax collector's budget than a tax payer's budget.”
Chozha Naachiar Rajasekar, Chamber president also spoke.