Jammu, May 22: All India Congress Committee (AICC) Spokesperson and Senior Congress leader Mr. P.L.Punia has said that a grave ‘agrarian crisis’ of unprecedented scale plagues the ‘Farm Sector’ today, putting a question mark on India’s food security because of the anti-farmer policies of the Modi led government at the centre.
This was disclosed by Shri Punia while addressing a press conference at party headquarters here today. PCC Senior Vice President Mr. Sham Lal Sharma, Chief Spokesman Mr. Ravinder Sharma, General Secretaries PCC Thakur Balwan Singh, Ch. Shah Mohammad, Vikram Malhotra, Namrata Sharma; Co-Treasurer Mr. Rajnish Sharma and District President Jammu (U) Mr. Anil Chopra were also present in the Press Conference.
Mr. Punia who is also Chairman of the National Commission for Schedule Caste (SC), accused the Modi Government of being insensitive towards the welfare of scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST) in the country. He said that the only ordinance issued by the previous Congress Government which was allowed to be lapsed and not re-promulgated by the present BJP government, The Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance, 2014’, which envisaged speedy and
expeditious disposal of SC/ST cases by an exclusive Special Court at District level, appointment of an exclusive Public Prosecutor and punishment for new offences like
garlanding with footwear, compelling to dispose or carry human or animal carcasses,
attempting to promote feeling of ill will against SCs/STs, imposing or threatening a social or economic boycott etc.
He said that the funds for Scheduled Castes Sub Plan have been reduced by Rs.13,208 crore and for Tribal Sub Plan have been reduced by Rs.7,714 crore.
A year of Modi Government has unequivocally established one slogan across 125 crore Indians – ‘KISAN VIRODHI – NARENDRA MODI’. While Prime Minister is busy ‘beating drums’ and ‘playing violin’ from Japan to Mongolia, a grave ‘agrarian crisis’ of unprecedented scale plagues the ‘Farm Sector’ today, putting a question mark on India’s food security. This epidemic catastrophe arises out of intentional indifference and cruel mal-governance of BJP-led NDA Government, which is deaf to the agony, anguish and request for help from the Indian farmer. ‘ANNA DAATA’ (food provider) of the Nation is facing an existential crisis of survival. In fact, Modi Government follows a ‘NAMO’ POLICY i.e. ‘NO AGRICULTURE – MAL-GOVERNANCE ONLY’.
Prices of all agricultural crops are witnessing a free fall. Government is unwilling to fix a fair ‘Minimum Support Price’ (MSP) for crops. Non-availability and rampant black-marketing of Urea/DAP fertilizers/seeds are the accepted norm. Burden of unseasonal rains/hailstorms leading to destruction of over 200 lakh hectares (494 lakh acres) of Rabi crops is driving the farmer to suicide and bankruptcy. Extension of agricultural credit to farmers stands slashed by banks/financial institutions. Agricultural exports have dipped substantially and suddenly. Area under agricultural production has fallen. All this symbolizes the mal-governance of agriculture in one year by Modi Government.
Arrogance of power and inhumane remarks of BJP’s senior leaders add insult to injury qua miseries of farming community. Former BJP President and senior Cabinet Minister, Shri Nitin Gadkari tells the farmers to not depend upon ‘God or Government’. BJP’s ex-National Kisan Morcha President and Haryana Agriculture Minister, O.P. Dhankar shamelessly calls debt-ridden farmers driven to suicides as ‘cowards’. Prominent BJP MP Sanjay Dhotre from Akola says “Let these farmers fend for themselves. If crop fails, they will figure out what to do. And if they die, let them die”. Sadly, ‘Suit Boot Ki Sarkar’ has failed even in performing its primary duty as Government.
To top it all, catering to the needs of a few crony capitalist friends, Shri Narendra Modi is hell bent upon grabbing the Farmer’s most prized and primary possession – his land. Modi’s ‘Land Acquisition Ordinance, 2015’, that seeks to kill the ‘heart and soul’ of Right to Fair Compensation Act, 2013, is actually a ‘Life Acquisition Ordinance’ for farmers. Growing rural distress and apathy of Government can be enumerated:-
1. COST + 50% PROFIT – A TALE OF BROKEN PROMISES
In the run-up to 2014 Parliamentary elections, most important big ticket promise (other than bringing back black-money) made by Shri Narendra Modi was to ensure “remunerative prices for farmers by adding 50% profit into the peasant’s input cost”. (Rally at Pathankot, Punjab on April 24, 2014). He repeated it across the country to woo the farmers and made a written promise in BJP’s 2014 Election Manifesto (Page-44).
Once in power, this solemn promise of Shri Modi to over 60% of India’s population, was buried at the bottom of ‘false promises dustbin’. Shockingly, Modi Government filed an affidavit dated 6th February, 2015 in Supreme Court describing ‘cost + 50%’ formula as a distortion. Having been cheated and short charged, India’s farmer stands at cross roads today.
2. FAIR MINIMUM SUPPORT PRICE (MSP) – AN ELUSIVE MIRAGE
Modi Government’s procurement agencies like FCI, CCI etc. are refusing to purchase farmer’s crop even at MSP beyond the PDS quota fixed for each State. To top it, Shri Narendra Modi has banned the BJP ruled States of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to give the already announced bonus to paddy and wheat farmers.
To add insult to injury, Modi Government has increased MSP of various crops for 2014-15 in negligible spurts of Rs.50/- per quintal per crop unlike the unprecedented protective umbrella and fair market prices given by Congress Party between 2004-05 and 2013-14.
A bare look at the understated figures clearly reflects the intent of Congress and BJP vis-à-vis farmer’s welfare.
(Figures in Rupees per Quintal)
|Name of Crop||Congress Government|
(2004-05 to 2013-14)
|1||Wheat||640 to 1400||760||1400 to 1450||50 only|
560 to 1310
590 to 1345
1310 to 1360
1345 to 1400
|3.||(a) Cotton Desi|
(b) Cotton American
|1700 to 3700|
1960 to 4000
|3700 to 3750|
4000 to 4050
|4.||Sugarcane||73.50 to 220|
|146.50||220 to 230||10 only|
(proposed for 2014-15)
|5.||TUR (ARHAR)||1390 to 4300||2910||4300 to 4350||50 only|
|6.||MUNG||1410 to 4500||3090||4500 to 4600||100 only|
|7.||Barley (JAUN)||540 to 1100||560||1100 to 1150||50 only|
|8.||Maize (MAKEE)||525 to 1310||785||1310||No Increase|
|9.||Millet (BAJRA)||515 to 1250||735||1250||No Increase|
|1000 to 2560|
900 to 2500
|11.||Groundnut||1500 to 4000||2500||4000||No Increase|
3. CRASH IN MARKET PRICE OF EVEN NON-MSP CROPS
Even Market-price of Non-MSP crops like Rice i.e. Basmati, 1121, 1509; Cotton i.e. J-45 Hybrid and others as also Rubber etc. have witnessed a free fall in last three months. Basmati Rice alone has fallen from Rs.6000-6500 in 2014-15 to Rs.3200-3300 per quintal in this season (100% drop). Basmati-like Rice varieties of 1121 and 1509, which were sold for Rs.4400-4800 last year, are being sold in distress sale at Rs.2400-2800 per quintal this season. Cotton variety J-45 Hybrid or even J-34 Regular, which was sold at Rs.5300-5500 last year, is being sold at Rs.3800-4000 per quintal this season – even below MSP. A similar tale is being witnessed by distressed rubber farmers which has seen reduction in prices from Rs.175-200 per kg last year to under Rs.120 per kg this season.
Question is what is BJP government doing after promising the moon?
4. GROWTH DOWN, PRODUCTION DOWN, EXPORTS DOWN, CROP AREA DOWN
Agricultural growth has gone down from 4.7% in 2013-14 to 1.1% in 2014-15 under Modi Government (Economic Survey 2015). Total grain output is likely to go down from 2650 lakh metric tons in 2013-14 to less than 2500 lakh metric tons in 2014-15.
Agricultural exports had jumped from USD 7.5 billion in 2003-04 to $42.6 billion in 2013-14 when Congress government demitted office. On the contrary, Modi government’s inaction and indifference is likely to lead to a decrease of nearly 29% in the exports of three crops alone i.e. wheat, rice and corn in 2014-15 itself i.e. over 135 lakh tons. Latest data of Agricultural Ministry reflects that area under cultivation has been reduced by 33.22 lakh hectares in 2014-15. Resultant effect would be negative growth of farm sector in 2014-15 for the first time after a decade of Congress rule.
5. UNPRECEDENTED UREA FERTILIZER CRISIS
Last Rabi season witnessed blatant sale of Urea in black market, police lathi-charge on helpless farmers, looting of Urea stocks by mobs and distribution of Urea in police stations in different States. Reason was reckless mismanagement. Modi Government imported only 17.37 lakh tons of Urea in the crucial period of June-October, 2014, which was 1/3rd of last year’s import i.e. 2013 import of 43.82 lakh tons. On top of it, Modi Government failed to pay Rs.40,000 crore of subsidy amount to domestic Urea manufacturers. For the year 2015-16, Modi Government has kept Fertilizer subsidy at Rs.72,968 crore. This, however, includes outstanding dues of Rs.40,000 crore as per Fertilizer Association of India. Hence, effective Fertilizer subsidy is only Rs.32,968 crore, which is 50% reduction.
6. DESTRUCTION OF CROPS – NEITHER COMPENSATION NOR RELAXATION IN PROCUREMENT NORMS.
Unseasonal rains and hailstorms damaged nearly 200 lakh hectares (494 lakh acres) of Rabi crops driving the farmer to abject penury, indebtedness and finally suicide. Vide a dictatorial order dated 8th April, 2015; Modi Government refused to grant relaxation beyond 14% in moisture norms. Only after Shri Rahul Gandhi’s visits to grain markets of Punjab on 28th April, 2015 followed by an effective intervention by him in Parliament on 29th April, 2015 that Modi Government decided to relax moisture norms. No instructions have, however, been issued till today. Even the compensation announced came to a pittance of Rs.2750 per acre for rain fed area and Rs.5465 per acre for assured irrigation areas. Till date, farmers have not even received this compensation. Resultantly, there is a 26% increase in suicides by farmers over the past year.
7. CONCERTED ATTEMPT TO KILL MGNREGA
Prime Minister Modi calls MGNREGA as an ‘epitome of Congress’ failure’. Union Minister, Shri Nitin Gadkari slams MGNREGA in an internal note. Modi Government proceeds to kill the soul and spirit of NREGA by withholding payments to States for NAREGA works. In 2014-15 alone, Government of India did not make payment of Rs.6000 crore to States for already executed MGNREGA works.
Although MGNREGA programme guarantees 100 days of employment, yet in 2014-15, people seeking work were offered job for only 30/40 days. Less working days would imply lower income thereby adding to the financial burden faced by poorest of the poor in the country. No wonder that lack of availability of work under MGNREGA has led to increase in farmer’s suicides in vulnerable areas like Vidharba, Maharashtra.
This sordid saga of policy failures and mal-intent exposes the anti-poor, anti-farmer and anti-agriculture face of the Modi Government.”
Replying to the queries by media personnel, Mr. Punia said that Congress always ensured equitable development of all three regions of the state and present PDP-BJP government should not create wedge between regions by ignoring the genuine aspirations of the people of three regions while referring to issue of AIIMS and Artificial lake in Jammu.