Punjab government has decided to impose 0.25% cess on the basmati being brought in the grain market this season.
The cess collected will now contribute to the noble cause of cancer treatment. Punjab marketing board authorities expect the cess to be collected for around Rs 19 crore.
Punjab government data reveals that for the past five years, around 33,500 people died because of cancer. There are more than 24,000 confirmed cases of cancer and about 85,000 people are suspected to have cancer symptoms in the state.
It is expected that the yield of basmati will reach at 35-36 lakh tones this season. Current market prices for per quital basmati are at Rs 2,400-2,500.
Punjab state has already tempted the basmati rice buyers from outside the state by giving concession in the mandi fee, rural development fee, infrastructure fee to the buyers on purchase of basmati.
This measure to fund cancer care seems fruitful as the basmati yield this year is likely to be the highest due to highest-ever acreage of about 20.40 lakh hectares. Average output per acre could be around 20 quintals.
State marketing board authorities has now opened a separate bank account where the cess collected for the cancer care will be deposited and every market committee has asked to deposit the cess on daily basis.
Punjab has an alarming rate of cancer patients at an average of 107 cancer patient per lakh against national average of 80 cancer patient per lakh.
Punjab marketing board secretary Deepinder Singh this is the first time in Punjab when such a measure for the cancer patients have been taken. Before this step, Mukhya Mantri Punjab Cancer Rahat Kosh scheme was started on November 1, 2011 which help 17,436 patients were provided Rs 205 crore under the scheme till September 19, 2014.