The Centre for Policy Dialogue on Tuesday demanded Tk 5,000 cash subsidy for each of the affected farmers and termed the opportunity to invest undisclosed money likely to be given in the upcoming budget a violation of ruling Awami League’s electoral pledges.
The country’s leading private think-tank demanded the subsidy at a briefing in the capital saying that around 1.8 crore farmers are facing difficulty against the backdrop of government failure in checking falling price of paddy and stopping the import of rice on time.
CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya said the amount of proposed subsidy would require a budgetary allocation of Tk 9,400 crore.
The government has subsidised the agricultural sector by providing assistance to the agricultural inputs like seeds, fertiliser and irrigation, but it did not pay any direct cash assistance to the farmers.
Demand for financial assistance to the affected farmers as well as procuring paddy directly from farmers instead of rice millers has already been demanded by various socio political organisations during recent countrywide protests against paddy prices even lower than production costs causing huge losses to farmers in the current boro season.
Debapriya noted that the cash subsidy to be distributed to the farmers through banking channel was justified when the government is going to increase subsidy to the readymade garments exporter in the upcoming budget.
CPD also opposed the government initiative to continue the opportunity to legalise illegally earned or undisclosed money with a more flexible condition.
Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, who is going to announce his first budget in parliament Thursday, might offer a blanket opportunity to legalise undisclosed money by investing in manufacturing industries after payment of only 10 per cent tax.
Debapriya said such an opportunity would be contradictory to the electoral pledges made by the Awami League as the party promised to take stern measures against corruption, bribery, undisclosed income, untaxed money, extortion, defaulted bank loans and muscle power.
Awami League publicised the manifesto on December 18, twelve days before the general election marred by rigging, intimidation and stuffing of ballots, pledged zero tolerance against corruption.
Debapriya said undisclosed money holders and the practice of evading tax would be encouraged by the relaxed opportunity of legalising undisclosed money was approved in the budget.
Currently, undisclosed money holders can legalise such money by investing in income-generating activities like industrial enterprises, extension of an existing industry, buying or constructing buildings, flats, land, securities listed with stock exchanges, and in any trade, commercial and industrial ventures engaged in production of goods and services by paying 10 per cent penalty along with the regular tax at the rate of 30 per cent.
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