Minister C.T. Ravi seeks relief package for coffee growers

Tourism Minister C.T. Ravi, who is also in charge of Chikkamagaluru district, has appealed to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to provide financial relief to coffee planters in the district who are reeling because of various reasons, including the vagaries of monsoon and COVID-19.

In a memorandum submitted to the Union Minister in Delhi on Tuesday, Mr. Ravi also appealed to her to declare a one-year moratorium on repayment of short-term loans and developmental loans taken by coffee growers of the district with effect from April 1.

He also called for restructuring of the principal amount and unpaid interest on short-term crop loans, term loans and other agricultural loans by consolidating them into a single loan account and providing easy instalment. Another demand is enhancing the limit on short-term loans by 25% to increase the working capital.

Pointing out that at present, farmers were eligible for getting an interest subvention scheme on loans up to ₹3 lakh, he appealed to the Union Minister to increase the upper limit of these loans. He also sought immediate payment of pending subsidies towards replanting and other schemes of the Coffee Board. Besides the abolition of GST on fertilizers, nutrients and chemicals for 2020-21, he also sought a subsidy on them.

Mr. Ravi appealed for income tax relief for coffee growers, besides increasing the export incentive from 3% to 5%. He said the hilly district had nearly 15,000 coffee planters, of whom 96% were small growers.

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