Poultry sector raises objections to draft Karnataka Panchayat Raj Rules 2021

The Karnataka Poultry Farmer’s and Breeder’s Association (KPFBA) and the National Egg
Co-ordination Committee on Monday raised several objections to the draft Karnataka
Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj (gram panchayat’s tax, rate and fees) Rules, 2021,
stating that if it comes into effect the poultry sector of Karnataka would be ‘crippled’.
Representatives of both the organizations, KPFBA and NECC, led a delegation to the
Departments of Panchayat Raj and Animal Husbandry and submitted a list of objections
to the Rules, seeking amendments to the same. The letters of objections were
submitted to the Minister for Animal Husbandry, Prabhu B.Chauhan; Secretary, Animal
Husbandry and Fisheries; Principal Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj
Department; President and Managing Director of Karnataka Cooperative Poultry
Federation (KCPF) and Commissioners of the two departments. In the meeting, the
government officials assured the delegation that they would take up the points with the
Panchayat Raj Department and said that these were draft rules which can be modified
based on ground realities.
Poultry farms cannot be included in ‘Agricultural Based Manufacturing Units’
In the letter submitted, the KPFBA President, Dr. B. Sushanth Rai has raised objections
to the draft rules published by RDPR on 29-12-2021. “From perusal of the definition
clause at Rule 2(3) it is seen that, Poultry Farm, has been included under the definition
of Buildings used for Agricultural Based Manufacturing Units. Upon defining the Poultry
Farm as Agricultural Based Manufacturing Unit, it has been made assessable to Taxes
under Chapter III, Rule 15(4).”
Poultry farming is defined under Karnataka Land Reforms Act
The KPFBA President pointed out that “first of all, poultry farming has not been defined
under the Karnataka Grama Swaraj and Panchayath Raj Act 1993. Poultry Farming is
defined under the Karnataka Land Reforms Act i.e., under Section 2(1)(d) of the said
Act.” As per the Land Reforms Act, Agriculture includes aquaculture; horticulture; dairy
farming; poultry farming; breeding of livestock; and grazing.

Dr. Sushanth Rai said that including poultry farms under the definition of Agricultural
Based Manufacturing Unit in the proposed Rules would be contrary to established law.
The Karnataka Land Revenue Act does not mandate for conversion of the lands where
Poultry Farms are constructed as poultry farming itself is agriculture and poultry farms
are mostly on agricultural lands.”
Draft rules illegal and untenable
Unless the lands are converted under section 95 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act,
poultry farms cannot be assessed to taxes by the Local Bodies, much less the Gram
Panchayats, the KPFBA President stated and added that including them under the
definition of Agricultural Based Manufacturing Unit is ‘not only illegal, the same is
Substantiating their case, KPFBA mentioned that poultry farming is not a commercial
activity, but an agricultural activity, much like other periodical agricultural activities.
“Poultry farming is not a manufacturing process where some agricultural raw materials
are used, processed and a new product is manufactured. It is an agricultural activity
much like sericulture where silk worms are cultivated to produce silk.” The KPFBA said
that to raise a batch of chicks in to consumable chickens, it takes about 35 to 40 days.
Thereafter to rear the next batch of chicks there must be a gap of about one and a half
months. In a year, a farmer can rear chicks in five batches, maximum.
High Court judgment on ‘right to put up construction on agricultural land’
The KPFBA President cited the judgment of the High Court of Karnataka in E.Bhaskar Rao
Vs. State of Karnataka wherein the former challenged the Revenue Authorities who
demanded Rs. 7,01,283 towards land conversion fine. The High Court held that the
occupant of a land held for agricultural purpose has ‘right to put up construction for his
farm house and quarters for labourers etc as poultry farm activities are equated with
agricultural activities.’

NECC says draft rules discriminatory
The NECC representatives said that the draft rules were highly discriminatory to the
poultry farming community and would render many to stop operating in Karnataka.

NECC said it may be justifiable to bring poultry feed manufacturing under the draft rules
but not poultry farming, per se.
NECC said that “as per the provisions of Section 199 of the Karnataka Gram Swaraj and
Panchayat Act, 1993, the concerned gram panchayat can levy tax upon buildings and
lands which are not subject to agricultural assessment. Any Rules thereof cannot
override the Act itself by mandating something contrary.”
Karnataka already importing 50 lakh eggs from other States
NECC also pointed out that no other State had come out with such legislation and in
fact, states such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have promulgated
beneficial legislations while providing subsidies to poultry farms. “There is no tax on
lands and buildings used for poultry farms in Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh etc.”
NECC mentioned that Karnataka is already receiving about 50 lakh eggs per day from
Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and if these draft rules come into effect,
then Karnataka will have to depend upon other states for its poultry requirements.
The delegation comprised of Mr. MSR.Prasad, KPFBA member & NECC Chairman,
Hospet; Mr. Satish Babu, Zonal Chairman, NECC Mysore; Mr. Giridhar Murthi, NECC
Hospet; Mr. Seshanarayana, Hospet; and Mr. Inayath Ulla Khan, Executive Secretary,