Rs.12 bn subsidy for tobacco growers

March 18th, 2008 - 4:37 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) The government is working out a Rs.12 billion subsidy on fertilisers to help tobacco growers, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jairam Ramesh told the Lok Sabha Tuesday. The subsidy package, which follows close on the heels of the Rs.600 billion farm loan waiver, is likely to help tobacco growers in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the country’s main tobacco growing states.

“There will be a subsidy of Rs.5 per kg on potassium sulphate,” Ramesh said.

Responding to a call attention motion by former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda to increase the quota for tobacco production in Karnataka, Ramesh said that the Department of Fertilisers was drafting a proposal to bring potassium sulphate under the subsidy regime.

Gowda said there were 60,000 tobacco growers in Karnataka and they were being made to pay Rs.90 million as penalty to the government for excess tobacco production.

“The government should waive off the penalty to be charged from tobacco growers and increase the ceiling of production as well. Karnataka produces quality tobacco, which is much more in demand in the global market.”

Though India is a signatory to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the government was doing everything possible to help out tobacco growers, said the minister.

“India needs to fulfil the commitment under FCTC by taking up appropriate measures to reduce the demand and supply of tobacco. Still, the government chips in with helping hands.”

Responding to Gowda’s demand to increase the ceiling on tobacco production in Karnataka, Ramesh said the state had produced 87.66 million kg of tobacco against the ceiling of 95 million kg for 2007-08.

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