‘35% cess on apple won’t hurt Kashmir horticulture’ | Greater Kashmir

‘35% cess on apple won’t hurt Kashmir horticulture’ | Greater Kashmir

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As the Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman proposed imposition of Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess on various items in the Union Budget, experts here said the cess of 35 percent on import of apples won’t have any adverse impact on Kashmir horticulture.

“Since the government doesn’t charge any tax on internal agriculture produce including apple, we believe it (the cess on apple) won’t have any adverse impact on apple trade of Kashmir,” chairman, Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers’ Union, Bashir Ahmad Basheer said.

“However, we were hopeful that the government would announce steps to promote Kashmir horticulture, but unfortunately there was nothing for us,” he added.

The cess, which will be effected from February 2, will be charged at the rate of 35% on apples on the “customs side”.

The other goods on the import of which the cess has been imposed include: gold, silver and dore bars (2.5%); crude palm oil (17.5%); crude soyabean and sunflower oil (20%); coal, lignite and peat (1.5%); specified fertilisers (5%); peas (40%); kabuli chana (30%); Bengal gram/chickpeas (50%); lentil (20%) and cotton – not carded or combed (5%).

On the other hand, basic customs duty rates have been cut by 15%. “To ensure the imposition of cess does not lead to additional burden in most of these items on the consumer, the basic customs duty (BCD) rates have been lowered. This cess shall be used to finance the improvement of agriculture infrastructure and other development expenditure,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement. More than two thirds of the national apple production comes from Kashmir. Out of the 2.5 million metric tonnes produced nationally, about 2 million metric tonnes of apple grow in Kashmir alone. Apple trade is key to J&K economy with an annual turnover pegged at Rs 8,000 crore. As many as 33 lakh families are dependent on the fruit trade.


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