Opposition express concern over farmers suicide, ‘worsening’ agrarian situation
New Delhi, Jul 16: Concerned over increasing number of farmers’ suicide and ‘worsening’ agrarian situation, Opposition Members Tuesday suggested the government ensure adequate water, quality seeds and remunerative prices for farm produce in a bid to improve the plight of farmers.
While the Opposition members attacked the government for not doing enough for the agriculture sector, the Members of the ruling party stressed that farmers are benefiting from the host of schemes launched by the Modi government in the last five years.
Initiating a debate on Demand for Grants for Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, and Ministry of Rural Development in the Lok Sabha, Uttam Kumar Reddy (Cong) accused the government of paying lip service to farmers instead of addressing the real issues being faced by them.
He said nearly 12,000 peasants commit suicide every year in the country and average suicide is 30 per day as they are compelled to do so.
With regard to doubling farmers’ income scheme, he said, the Economic Survey released in 2018 revealed that income in the last four years had remained flat.
In such a scenario, the government’s promise of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 remains a far cry, he added.
Reddy also said the calculation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) is faulty and the government has failed to ensure adequate MSP to farmers.
Farmers are compelled to sell their crops at less the MSP announced by the government, he said.
Citing example of cotton, he said farmers are getting one fourth of the cost.
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 no help to them and are not able to save them from going to money lenders, he added.
Besides, he said, this is not available to 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.
Expressing concern over increasing number of farmers’ suicide, Prataprao Jadhav (Shiv Sena) said they only need three things — adequate water for irrigation, quality seeds and remunerative price of their produce.
“If they get these three things, that can take care of themselves and will not need any assiatance from the government,” he added.
S S Palanimanickam (DMK) said that farmers are lagging behind in every other profession in the country.
“BJP said that they would be doubling the income of farmers but they are only repeating the same slogan because there is a big gap between their saying and action,” he said
“I am sure that in the next election also, you will be repeating the same slogan. We were expecting loan waiver but that did not happened…You are just giving peanuts to farmers,” he said.
On the PM Kisan Yojna, under which the government gives Rs 6000 per annum to farmers, he said that this is a small amount.
He suggested that if the government wants to double farmers income they need to give special importance to sectors like dairy, poultry and fishery. “They should get remunerative prices,” he said.
Ramapati Ram Tripathi (BJP) said that the Budget mainly focuses on village people and farmers.
The Budget would also help in doubling the income of farmers, he said.
“Rs 6,000 is not a small amount and this will help small farmers in crucial times. They do not have to approach moneylenders now,” he said adding the amount is helping them in buying seeds and urea.
For urea, farmers did not have to stand in queues due to the steps taken by the government, he said.
Ram Shankar Katheria (BJP) stressed that farmers today are very happy on account of various schemes launched by the Modi government during the last five years.
He also said that unlike the Congress governments, the Modi government has fulfilled all the promises made to the people.
Pratima Mondal (TMC) said the farmers are suffering because the government has not given any emphasis on the agriculture sector.
Kaushlendra Kumar (JD-U) said the government should focus on Bihar and Assam as these states are reeling under severe flood situation.