Govt paying lip service to farmers: Congress

NEW DELHI: Raising concern over growing farmers' suicide in the Lok Sabha, the Congress Tuesday said the government is only paying lip service to their problems and issues and not addressing them.

Initiating the debate on Demand for Grants for Department of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare, and Rural Development Ministry, Uttam Kumar Reddy (Cong) said nearly 12,000 peasants commit suicide every year in the country and the average suicide is 30 per day due to compulsion.

Low priority meted out to agriculture sector by the present government has pushed them to existential crisis, he said.

With regard to doubling farmers' income scheme, he said, the Economic Survey released in 2018 revealed that income in the last four years in the sector remained flat.

In a such a scenario, the government's promise of doubling farmers' income by 2022 remains a far cry, he added.

He also said the calculation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) is faulty and that the government has failed to ensure Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers.

Farmers are compelled to sell their crops at less than the MSP announced by the governmen, the Member said.

Citing example of cotton, he said farmers are getting one fourth of the cost.

It seems that present government is just paying lip service to the farmers rather than actually attending to it, he said.

On PM-KISAN scheme, Reddy said, Rs 6,000 per annum that too in three quarters is too little for a farmer and does not serve any purpose.

The cost of farming has gone up significantly and Rs 6,000 per annum to farmers is of no help to them and are not able to save them from going to the money lender, he added.

Besides, he said, this is not available for tenant farmers who number about 2.1 crore across the country.

With regard to PM Fasal Bima Yojana, Reddy said it is benefiting insurance companies rather than farmers.

Claims of farmers are not being attended to, he said, adding, insurance companies have made a profit of Rs 3,000 crore from PM Fasal Bima Yojana as per the IRDAI report 2017- 18.

He also asked the government to either remove Goods and Services Tax (GST) from all agriculture equipment and other inputs used in farming or bring them under the lowest possible tax slab.

 

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PTI