Claiming that nearly 39,000 farmers have committed suicide across the country during the last three years, Congress today said the BJP-led government at the Centre had “failed miserably” to solve problems of the agriculture sector. “As per government data that were received during questions in Parliament, more than 38,000 farmers have committed suicides since 2014 when Narendra Modi came to power,” All India Congress Committee General Secretary C P Joshi told a press conference here.
“The NDA government is celebrating its third anniversary but the Narendra Modi-led government has failed miserably on all fronts, particularly in agriculture,” he said. Joshi claimed that 12,360 farmers and agricultural labourers had committed suicide in 2014, while the figure was 12,602 and over 14,000 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
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“At a time when India’s debt-ridden farmers were denied farm loan waiver by the BJP government, we have seen that Rs 1,54,000 crore loans of business friends have been written off. The Bharat Mata’s soul is crying for the farmers,” the Congress leader said.
He said BJP had come to power promising 50 per cent profit on minimum support prices in addition to the cost of crops but it told the Supreme Court on February 20, 2015 that the farmers cannot be given 50 per cent profit on cost of production.
Joshi also claimed that BJP has a nexus with food grain mafia as it reduced import duty on wheat from 25 per cent to nil.
“On the other hand, the government procurement of wheat went down to 229.62 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 from 288.8 lakh tonnes in 2015-16. Rice procurement too dropped to 304.35 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 from 342.18 lakh tonnes a year ago,” he said.
Joshi claimed that the agriculture exports were falling every year and has plunged to USD 1,957 million in 2016-17 from USD 3,295 million in 2013-14.
He also charged the Centre of giving benefits to private empanelled companies and not the targeted farmers under the PM Fasal Bima Yojana, which started from April 2016.
“The premium paid to the companies is many times more than the compensation paid to farmers. During kharif season of 2016, Rs 17,184.79 crore was paid as premium against Rs 6,808.48 crore compensation paid to the farmers,” he added.
Joshi said despite successive droughts over the last three years across India, the BJP government had “willfully failed” in providing calamity reliefs to the states.
“Also, the anti-agriculture mindset of the BJP government has led to cuts in actual spending on schemes essential to farmers’ welfare. The BJP should actually apologise to the farmers, who are feeding us,” he added.