Traders in more than 245 mandis across Rajasthan have gone on strike until May 10 to press for reversal of 2 per cent Krishak Kalyan charge levied by the state government on the purchase and sale of agricultural goods, a traders' body said on Thursday.
The Rajasthan government on Wednesday imposed a 2 per cent charge on all agricultural purchase and sale in mandis for financing the Rs 1,000 crore Farmers' Welfare Fund.
Rajasthan Khadya Vyapar Sangh Chairman Babulal Gupta said traders have gone on strike from Thursday to protest against the charge and the stir will continue until May 10.
Gupta claimed that the tax will only let tax evaders flourish and ultimately the burden will come on consumers.
Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Nareshpal Gangwar said that the charge will not be borne by farmers and traders, and the fund will only be used for the welfare of farmers.
He said that Mandi charges on notified agricultural commodities in the state are in the range of 0.01 per cent to 1.60 per cent, which are lower than that in neighbouring states. An additional development charge is also taken in Punjab, Haryana and other states, he added.
Gupta said that traders were already in talks with the government to bring down the 1.60 per cent tax to 1 per cent for smooth trade but additional 2 per cent tax on existing charge slab will make the situation worse for industry, traders and farmers.
"Trade is done honestly at competitive market price. Higher tax will not fetch money to government coffers instead tax evaders will flourish. Burden will ultimately come on consumers, Gupta said.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the last budget session declared that the government will deposit Rs 1,000 crore in the Farmers' Welfare Fund.
Officials in the department say that the decision to deposit 2 per cent charge in the fund is taken as the government does not have money to fulfill its promise.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)