The Congress will join the September 27 “Bharat Bandh” called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha to mark the first anniversary of passing of the three controversial farm laws in Parliament, the party announced on Saturday.
Party spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said the Narendra Modi government has systematically assaulted the agriculture sector in past seven years. At the very onset in 2014, the Modi government came up with the Land Acquisition Ordinance to usurp farm lands in the name of strategic sectors but the government had to drop this bill, he said.
In 2015, Mr. Vallabh said, the government in an affidavit to the Supreme Court submitted that the markets will get distorted if MSP is decided according to the formula laid down by the Swaminathan Commission.
“Meanwhile, the government found a way to divert the agri-budget to private insurance companies by bringing in PM Kisan Bima Yojana,” Mr Vallabh alleged.
Tax on inputs
It was the Modi government, which for the first time imposed a tax on the major farm implements, tractors, pesticides and seeds, the Congress spokesperson said. “As per one study, in the last seven years, per hectare cost of farming has increased by ₹25,000 because of the indirect taxes imposed on agriculture,” he added.
The Modi government had promised to double farm incomes by February 2022 but today, the farmer’s income has hit an all time low, he added. Quoting government data, Mr. Vallabh said that in 2012-13 on an average each farmer had a debt of ₹47,000. By 2018-19 this has increased to ₹74,000.
“The Modi government is responsible for all round ruin of the farm sector. And now they are turning a blind eye towards the farmers who have protesting for nine months braving the elements at the Delhi border. 600 farmers have died in this agitation but the government still insists on not talking about the farm laws,” Mr. Vallabh added.
The Congress supports the demand of the farmers asking for withdrawal of the laws and giving MSP legal backing, he said.
“I am surprised why Prime Minister Modi is opposed to Chief Minister Modi? During UPA-2 then Gujarat Chief Minister demanded that the MSP should be made part of the law,” Mr Vallabh pointed out.