In a change, Kerala’S ruling Left Democratic Front and principal opposition, the Congress-led UDF on Tuesday organised a joint protest against the Centre’s move to impose income tax on primary milk co-operatives.
Inaugurating the state-level protest, organised by the Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (KCMMF), popularly known as Milma, state Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Minister J. Chinchurani said a resolution against the proposal would be brought in the Assembly and adopted unanimously with the support of the opposition.
“The Centre has cast a huge burden on the dairy farmers who belong to the lowest rung of the society. This blow has come at a time when they are struggling to sustain the dairy sector amidst severe hardships caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Kerala will continue to oppose the decision, till it is rolled back,” she said.
Chinchurani said she has already written to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, demanding withdrawal of the decision and pointing out its grim fallout on the dairy sector. Besides, this issue was also raised at the meeting of Dairy Development Ministers convened by the Centre, she said.
Presiding over the protest at the Martyrs’ Column in the city, Leader in Opposition in Assembly V.D. Satheesan emphasised the need to stand together, setting aside political differences, to counter the Centre’s move.
“The Centre has unilaterally made this decision without having any consultation with the people and organisations engaged in the dairy sector. This issue would be raised in the Assembly in the next session,” he said.
Milma Chairman K.S. Mani said the decision to impose tax on Anand model primary co-operatives would deal a crippling blow to the co-operative dairy sector.
Similar protest meetings were held across the state with dairy farmers and members of co-operative societies demanding the roll-back of the proposal.
Milma has voiced serious concern over the proposal to impose Income Tax on the Anand model primary milk co-operative societies with an annual turnover of over Rs 50 lakh.