Press Trust of india

Agri tax benefit to Bengal tea gardens “immaterial”

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Kolkata, Feb 10 :  The West Bengal government’s Budget proposal to extend agricultural tax benefit to the tea gardens in the state has no “material” bearing on the ailing tea gardens in the state, industry officials said.
The TMC government in the state has been extending agricultural tax benefits to tea gardens since it assumed office in 2011.
Finance Minister Amit Mitra presenting the last full budget before the 2021 Assembly on Monday offered agricultural tax waiver to the tea gardens in his Budget announcement.
The tea industry said it was left out by both central and state budgets that could have helped to revive it.
“Agricultural tax benefit has no material bearing on our industry which is into losses. It came without even being asked for,” Darjeeling Tea Association advisor Sandip Mukherjee told PTI.
Another tea player, Bagaria Group chairman and managing director S S Bagaria said that the Budget announcement has no impact on the state government’s tax kitty as there is no question of tax when gardens are posting losses.
Agricultural tax is collected by the state government unlike corporate tax that goes to Centre’s kitty first.
“For us, whether it is agri tax or corporate tax there is no difference,” Bagaria said.
Mukherjee said the tea sector had in fact been seeking withdrawal of two per cent TDS on withdrawal of cash of more than Rs one crore.
This was a major demand of the tea industry but there was no relief in the 2020-21 Budget, he added.

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