No question of taxing agriculture income: Panagariya

Hyderabad: NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya on Saturday said there is a need to formulate proper policies to ensure farmers get better prices for produce and asserted that there is no question of taxing their income.

“We must have policies in place that would give better prices to farmers. And this is where the NITI Aayog, in collaboration with the State governments and on behalf of the Centre, tries to accomplish (the task of proper) marketing of agricultural produce,” he said. “It must be done in such a way that farmers get fair price. Those are the policies we need to change so that farmers get fair share of the price,” he said.

The vice-chairman of the premier government think-tank, which is headed by the Prime Minister, was speaking at an event organised by the Swarna Bharat Trust here. Panagariya said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has committed to doubling farm income by 2022 and the government is bringing in reforms on the technology front and pricing towards that direction.

“We need to increase productivity on farming with this spirit that the government is also coming out with policies to foster growth and give higher wages to our workers. With higher revenues, the government can carry out the social programmes,” the noted economist said. Asked about the recent remarks made by a NITI Aayog member on taxing farm income, he said there is no question of such a measure as a large population in rural parts is dependent on agriculture for subsistence. “If you look at the poverty in India, 80 per cent of the poor, no matter how you measure it, in rural areas are largely dependent on farming. So, where is the question of taxing farmers?” he asked.