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'Amend Act to curb food adulteration'

By Our Staff Reporter

MADURAI, JUNE 6. The Tamil Nadu Foodgrains Merchants' Association Limited has urged the Centre to amend the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act to differentiate between sub-standard and adulterated food. Providing more teeth to the enforcing authorities to award punishment according to the gravity of offence would go a long way in preventing adulteration.

In a memorandum submitted to the Union Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, recently, the secretary, V. Dhanasekaran, suggested constitution of advisory committees by the State Governments concerned by drawing members from the food trade industry to detect cases for launching the prosecution. Opportunity should be given to the affected to present the case before the advisory committees. Private laboratories should be approved for testing the samples under the Adulteration Act.

The bank's lending rates to agriculture and industry sectors be substantially reduced not exceeding 8-10 per cent which was slightly above the international lending rates accounting to 6-8 per cent. Similarly, the banks' charges for various services be also brought down to the minimum.

The association sought the implementation of the Vijay Kelkar's recommendation on income tax enhancing the threshold limit for IT on individuals to Rs. one lakh and two-slab structure unveiled thereupon. Savings related IT exemptions influence domestic savings significantly and its withdrawal would impact the overall savings projections. The savings habit among the public would gain momentum only when there is an incentive based encouragement and hence the entire savings amount be exempted from the IT.

Levy of Central Excise on agricultural products would benefit only the multinationals, the memorandum said.

The association suggested abolition of wealth tax but bringing idle buildings under the tax net. The charitable trusts presently not enjoying tax exemptions be exempted up to an income of Rs.50,000 as per individual rate of taxation.

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