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Agriculture Experts, Farmers Not Happy with Budget 2019

Agriculture experts and farmers in Punjab have termed the Interim Budget 2019 as a ‘bundle of lies’, ‘concealed’ and a ‘rude joke’ on the farming sector for which the Centre had been making claims about increasing the minimum support price of 22 crops, promoting  diversification and bringing in improved crop insurance policies.

Prof Gian Singh, an agriculture expert who retired from the department of economics at Patiala University said, “This is the sixth budget of this government and the most useless for farmers where neither MSP for 22 crops has been enhanced nor MS Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations have been implemented. Government has cheated cultivators by fixing the MSP according to its own convenience not as per the Swaminathan Commission recommendations”.

Singh said that the government has not offered any help in the field of diversification even though states like Punjab where vast area was under water gulped rice crop needed it immediately. He said, “Potato produce is being sold at throw away prices and in spite of requests, growers are not being provided even the rate equal to the production cost”.

The expert also said, “Even the crop insurance policy’s burden is being shared by the state governments and farmers as Centre is not supporting it fully,” adding that in case of natural disaster too, Centre talks about rescheduling of loans and not a complete waiver for the affected cultivators.

State executive member of Krantikari Kisan Union, Dr Darshan Pal said that the Center must give a respectable amount as monthly pension to the farmers above 60 years “as they have served the country like any government employee by filling nation’s granary and such pension is the right of every farmer of India”. He said, “In order to double farmers’ income by 2022, government should have implemented the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations”.

On the other hand, Sarvan Singh, a farmer from Gosal village in Kapurthala said that the government has dashed all his hopes adding that “We have been made beggars by the present government whose worth is not more than Rs 6000 yearly”.

Jagmohan Singh, Bhartiya Kisan Union Ekta, (Dakaunda) general secretary said that the Interim Budget 2019 has shown that Modi-led-BJP government was not at all serious and sensitive towards the farmers’ issues.

Jagmohan said, “If Centre was serious, then it should have passed the private bills brought in the Lok Sabha for debate. One of the bills compels the government to waive all loans of all peasants like landless peasants, sharecroppers, agricultural workers, fishermen and also includes declaration of private loans as null and void. Another bill obligates the Centre to regulate and cut the cost price of farm inputs like seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, diesel, machinery and equipments to establish a cost and prices commission to evaluate the cost of production that shall include computing of paid up costs, rent of land, family labour, interest and insurance costs and to make sure through public and private purchasing agencies that the farmers obtain a guaranteed MSP of C2 + 50 %”.

*Source – Indian Express



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