Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday gave nod to abolishing the VAT on raw honey (unbranded honey) besides on equipment, boxes, food grade containers and wax required for beekeeping.
This follows the Hindustan Times, in its series on ‘Futuristic farmers’, reporting the issues raised by the beekeeping association. Earlier, the government was charging 6.5% VAT considering it as an industrial produce. The beekeeping falls in small-scale industry category while the association wants it to be considered an agri-business.
Announcing this, a spokesperson of the CMO said that after having conceded the demand of progressive honey producers, the CM asked the department to implement the decision at the earliest to facilitate beekeepers. He also announced that the 40% subsidy given to beekeepers on 50 boxes along with bees would now be available on 100 boxes, inclusive of bees.
Acceding to another demand put forth by beekeepers, Badal gave consent to send them abroad and to other states in the country for getting training to extract poison and royal jelly from the bees. He said beekeepers would be provided an adequate price for their produce to ensure a stable price mechanism for honey.
Asks PAU to buy machines
In another decision, the CM asked the Punjab Agricultural University to buy four machines for extracting honey from bees on a trial basis. He also asked the university to recruit experts on beekeeping to impart quality training to farmers for encouraging them to adopt the remunerative profession in a big way.
The chief minister directed the departments of home, excise and taxation and director general of police to ensure that beekeepers were not harassed while transporting bee boxes from one place to another in and outside the state.
Badal asked various government departments to grant necessary permission to beekeepers for keeping their boxes on government land.