Leaders of farmers’ associations and social activists, who were in the city as part of a nationwide Kisan Mukti Yatra, demanded that the NDA government implement the recommendations of the National Commission on Farmers headed by M.S. Swaminathan, and Ramesh Chand Committee on the revamping of Minimum Support Price without further delay to prevent the agriculture sector from going deep into the red.
They demanded that loans raised not only from banks but all other sources of credit, including from the private money lenders, should be written off to make the farmers completely debt-free.
Addressing a meeting organised by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), which is spearheading farmers’ struggles across the country, and presided by former Minister Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao, Swaraj Abhiyan Co-Founder and AIKSCC National Working Group member Yogendra Yadav said it was a pity that the farmers had to plead with the UPA government and its successor NDA to pay for all crops fair and remunerative prices — costs of production (cultivation) plus 50% — as recommended by Swaminathan Commission which was appointed way back in 2007.
Going by the government’s own calculations, the price deficiency (difference between the stipulated prices and actual realisations) payable to the farmers stood between ₹1.50 lakh crore and ₹2 lakh crore every year, which amounts up to ₹20 lakh crore with effect from the publication of Swaminathan Commission report (August 2007 - till date). Their total debt stands about ₹13.5 lakh crore.
“It is, therefore, a common sense that the nation is indebted to farmers, not the other way round,” he said.
Retired Supreme Court judge V. Gopala Gowda said it was a shame that over three lakh farmers committed suicide in about two decades and warned the Central and the State governments of the consequences of violating the constitutional and legal rights of farmers against forcible land acquisition. Sardar V.M. Singh, Convenor of the AIKSCC and Punjab-based Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Party, regretted the farmers were being tormented whenever they raised their voice against the alleged injustices and they were even fired at as the governments were in no mood to listen to their grievances. MP from Maharashtra Raju Shetti, former bureaucrat E.A.S. Sarma and K.L. Rao’s son Vijaya Rao were among those who spoke.