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Farmer outfits, Congress reject MSP hike

Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja. File

Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja. File   | Photo Credit: AKHILESH KUMAR

Terming the increase in the minimum support price (MSP) for kharif crops by the Central government as inadequate, farmer outfits and political parties on Tuesday said the move had exposed the anti-farmer stance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) yet again.

Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja said the Central government had failed to take effective steps to help farmers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The anti-farmer face of the BJP government has been exposed once again. The increase in the MSP for different crops that has been announced is insignificant when compared to the rise in the cost of inputs,” she said.

“It has become clear that the BJP’s slogan of doubling farmers’ income is nothing more than a hollow claim,” she said, adding that both the Central government and the Haryana government had left no stone unturned to ruin the lives of farmers.

“The recent Haryana government’s decision to restrict paddy cultivation to a few areas of the State is a prominent example,” she said.

‘Yet to be paid’

Ms. Selja said the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s unplanned lockdown had severely affected the farmers. “Farmers have been facing problems during the government purchase of wheat and mustard. The government claimed that farmers would be paid within 72 hours of purchasing the crop, but several farmers are yet to get their payment. Also, several farmers who incurred heavy losses due to the unseasonal rains in March-April are yet to be compensated,” she said.

The All India Kisan Federation (AIKF) rejected the ₹53 per quintal increase in the MSP of paddy, describing it as insufficient in comparison to the rising cost of production and cultivation.

“The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) is oblivious of the ground situation as it is not represented by farmers. The meagre increase in the MSP of paddy, cotton and maize is even below the cost of production, leaving aside no profit or benefit for the crumbling farmers,” said AIKF president Prem Singh Bhangu and general secretary Vijay Kumar Chaudary in a joint statement.

Separate budget

They demanded a separate budget for agriculture to increase public investment that is shrinking sharply and the implementation of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan’s recommendations in toto.

“The reforms in agriculture being carried out by the government are nothing but an implementation of anti-farmer, neo-liberal policies for imposing corporate and contract farming, ousting the middle, small and marginal farmer from the farming profession,” they added.

Gurnam Singh, president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni), said the rise in the MSP of crops was insufficient and termed the decision as a “betrayal” by the BJP government.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 7:31:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/farmer-outfits-congress-reject-msp-hike/article31735498.ece

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