The Federation of Farmers’ Association of Delta Districts has slammed the union budget as “anti-farmer”.
In a statement, its State general secretary Arupathi P.Kalyanam said that there is nothing in the budget to protect the farmers who are in distress.
Out of the total budget outlay of Rs.16.65 lakh crore, the allocation for the Agriculture Ministry is mere Rs.27, 049 crore, including Rs.3,415 crore for Agriculture Research. In this, the actual plan allocation for Agriculture and allied activities is only Rs.18, 781 crore. We have been demanding for the past 10 years allocation of 20 per cent of the total budget to Agriculture.
He submitted that the National Commission on Farmers categorically recommended in 2006 to provide farm loan at four per cent interest. This is not implemented even in this budget. Finance Minister P.Chidambaram has said that interest subvention at four per cent would continue for those who repay farm loans within the due date and extended the same to private banks.
Now the total farm loan allocation for the banks is raised from Rs.5.75 lakh crore to Rs.7 lakh crore. The Finance Minister should assure farmers that the entire sum would be provided at 4 per cent simple interest. Farmers were getting farm loan at 7 per cent up to Rs.3 lakh only. The interest subvention is meant only for this loan. But those borrowing more than Rs.3 lakh are charged interests from 13 per cent to 15 per cent. “We need farm loan at four per cent interest.” What the Finance Minister announced is “cheating,” he alleged.
Besides, though it was more than six years since the National Commission on Farmers recommended that Minimum Support Prices should be more than 50 per cent of the total cost of cultivation, it is yet to be implemented, Mr.Kalyanam lamented.
Due to natural calamities farmers are facing crop loss to the level of Rs.50,000 crore annually. The allocation to National Calamity Contingency Fund/National Disaster Response Fund ( NCCF\NDRF) is a mere Rs.4,800 crore.
For the past 10 years we have been representing that 50 per cent of the Service Tax collection must be allocated to meet the losses due to these disasters. When Service Tax was introduced in 1994 it was only Rs.410 crore. Last year it was Rs.1.32 lakh crore and this year’s estimate is Rs.1.80 lakh crore.
The entire faming community will get protection if 50 per cent of this amount were to be allocated to NCCF/NDRF during natural disasters.
There is no mention of linking of rivers and the total quantum of water that goes unused in the country is around 48,000 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) .The States are fighting for just five tmcft and 10 tmcft
Mr.Chidambaram spoke about our excessive dependence on oil and coal imports. If ethanol were to be produced using sugarcane as in like Brazil we can curtail import of crude.
The import dependence of crude in 2011-12 was 172 million tonnes worth around Rs.6.72 lakh crore. In 2002-03 the import dependence was 81.98 million tonnes worth Rs.76,195 crore. “What were the steps the present United Progressive Alliance government has taken to promote ethanol production and curtail import for the past nine years?”, he asked.