Shimla: Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has urged the Centre to include Agro Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) and HP State Agricultural Marketing Board (HPSAMB) into the Direct Tax Bill, 2009, thereby exempting such institutions from the purview of Income Tax Act, 1961.
The Chief Minister said that agriculture and horticulture are two basic income generating activities of the people of Himachal Pradesh and major chunk of its population was dependant upon it for their livelihood. He said that the state government had constituted Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) and State Agricultural Marketing Board (HPSAMB) with the objective to operate marketing activities of the farm produce as grassroots level marketing infrastructural units to protect farmers against middlemen.
He said that the income of APMCs and HPSAMB, established under the Himachal Pradesh Agricultural and Horticultural Produce (Development and Regulation) Act, 2005 had been exempted from the purview of Income Tax Act, 1961, as per Section-10 (26 AAB) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 with effect from April 1, 2008. He said that it had been learnt that in the draft Direct Tax Code Bill, 2009 the institutions of APMCs and HPSAMB had not been included in the Seventh Schedule, which provides for exemption of income of these and other kinds of institutions. He said that APMCs and HPSAMB were neither carrying out any business activity with the motive of profit earning, nor trading, merchandise, processing, buying or selling units. He added that all such bodies were confined to local jurisdiction and managed by local authorities democratically to protect the interests of the farming community.
Dhumal said that APMCs were collecting market fee of one per cent over the sale or purchase of the produce, which it had been spending over development of marketing infrastructure within their jurisdiction. The Chief Minister said that the Direct Tax Code Bill, 2009 would leave a negative impact on the functioning and development of APMCs and HPSAMB and harm the interests of farmers. He requested the Union finance minister to include APMCs and HPSAMB into the exemption list under Seventh Schedule of Direct Tax Code Bill, 2009 with a view to protect the interests of the farming community.