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Congress Releases Election Manifesto; Promises to End Farmers' Distress, Bring Separate Kisan Budget

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Congress party has released the much-awaited manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2019 titled 'Congress will deliver'. Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi terming it as the voice of people said the manifesto focuses on farmers’ pain. Accusing the BJP government for neglecting farmers problem Congress told that agriculture in the country has been driven into deep crisis where minimum support price was denied to the farmers for four years, farmer debt has increased, procurement of machinery is non-existent & the input costs have also increased.

Have a look at the key takeaways:

As part of the election promises, Congress manifesto said that it will put the farmers on the path from "Karz Maafi" to "Karz Mukti". And this will be done via remunerative prices, lower input costs & assured access to institutional credit.

The manifesto has promised a separate "Kisan Budget" for the growers every year. Rahul Gandhi said if farmers are not able to repay the loans then it will be treated as a civil offence & not a criminal offence. He added that this will be a "historic step" in the welfare of farmers.

Giving example of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, where Congress is currently in power, the manifesto says the government there waived farm loans and would do the same for other States also. The Congress' manifesto also stated that it will not let criminal proceedings to be instituted against any farmer who is not able to pay the debt.

The party has also promised to establish a permanent National Commission on Agricultural Development & Planning consisting of farmers, agricultural scientists & agricultural economists to study and counsel the government on how to make agriculture viable, spirited and remunerative.

Congress will re-design the BJP government's Fasal Bima Yojana (Crop Insurance Scheme). According to the manifesto, the BJP's crop insurance scheme has only enriched the insurance firms at the cost of the farmers.

farmers

The party if comes to the power, will work with the state Governments in order to digitise land possession and land tenancy records and particularly recognise ownership & tenancy rights of women farmers and ensure they get the benefits of agriculture related schemes.

Congress has also promised to assess the prices of agricultural inputs, extend subsidies wherever required, and set up facilities to hire farm machinery. It said that the party will cancel the Agricultural Produce Market Committees Act & make trade in agricultural produce free from all limitations. The manifesto also talked about setting up farmers market, preparing new policy on export & import of agricultural products.

It promised to launch a Commission on Marginal Farmers & Agricultural Labour to advise on policies & programmes that will help them earn income from higher wages and also from non-crop based agriculture like horticulture, floriculture, dairying & poultry.

Congress assured to support farmers to diversify into the production of local varieties of millets as well as pulses that can be procured for PDS, Mid-Day Meals Scheme & ICDS programme.

The manifesto said that it would initiate programmes to promote horticulture, pisciculture & sericulture for diversification as well as greater income for farmers. It would also  promote organic farming, and encourage farmers to use mixed fertilizers & pesticides.

Congress said that it would double the financial support in 5 years for R&D, teaching, agriculture-related pure sciences, applied science and technology in agriculture sector.



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