Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], January 31 (ANI): Apple growers and other horticulturists in Himachal Pradesh said they were hopeful of getting special provisions in the Union Budget to boost trade of Himachali apples.
The growers said they were also looking forward to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman giving more clarity on import duty on apples procured from overseas to India or bringing the apples under a special category in World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The farmers also demand subsidies in fertilisers and provision of MSP for apples on a par with Jammu and Kashmir.
"We are hopeful of special budgetary provisions for us. Inflation has hit everyone in the country, and the cost of production is going up. There is an urgent need for subsidy on fertilisers and pesticides for horticulture. We also are looking for more clarity from the finance ministry on imposition the 100% import duty on apples (from overseas), as imported apples, especially from China and Iran, hit our peak apple season, resulting in the prices of our produce going down," said Sushant an apple grower.
Women growers in the state sought more funds for the setting up of cold storages and processing plants for fruits in the state.
"For apples, cherries and other fruits, processing plants are needed to preserve them. We expect the Union government to make special provisions in the budget for farmers. We want subsidies for the fertilisers and anti-hail nets," said Pushpa, a woman farmer.
"We also demand MSP as given to farmers in Jammu and Kashmir for apples. Here, we have MSP only for low-grade fruit which is less than 10 rupees but in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union government gives a higher MSP. We are looking for something similar. We also want fertilizers and pesticides at subsidised rates from the farmers. We also demand that the apple be brought under special category fruit so that import duty should be imposed on the foreign apple which is hitting the apple of the state," said Yashwant, a farmer.
The Budget Session will be held in two parts. It will begin with President Droupadi Murmu's address to the joint session of the two Houses of Parliament.
The Economic Survey will be tabled after the President's address.
The Union Budget 2023-24 may be the last full budget to be presented by the BJP-led central government before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The first part of the session will be held from January 31 and will go on till February 13. It will see debates in both Houses on the 'Motion of Thanks' to the President's address, which will conclude with a reply from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Parliament will reconvene after a recess for parliamentary committees to discuss the demand for grants of various ministries. The second part will begin on March 13 and will continue till April 6.
The Money Bill is passed after a discussion on the demand for grants and it marks the culmination of the budget process.
During the Monsoon Session, nine bills were passed by both Houses of Parliament. (ANI)