While the MSP for paddy was fixed at Rs 1750 per quintal, it was being sold at Rs 1600 while other crops were getting still lower prices, he said, quoting what he claimed was government data.
The Congress Sunday claimed agricultural growth rate had gone down from 4.2 per cent during the UPA regime to 2.5 per cent under the Narendra Modi government. Addressing a press conference here, the Congress’ communications in charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Modi government would need “20 years” to double the income of farmers, as against the Centre’s promise of achieving the feat by 2022.
“As per data shared by the Modi government in the Lok Sabha, agricultural growth rate between 2014 and 2018 has gone down to 2.5 per cent. This rate was 4.2 per cent between 2009-14 under the UPA government,” Surjewala said.
“Going by this pace, it would take 20 years for the Modi government to double the income of farmers,” he added. He said the Centre had not been able to provide Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers despite promising to give them support price at 50 per cent higher than production cost. While the MSP for paddy was fixed at Rs 1750 per quintal, it was being sold at Rs 1600 while other crops were getting still lower prices, he said, quoting what he claimed was government data. He alleged the NDA government deceived farmers by reducing import duty on agricultural produce to zero just before the arrival of crops in the market.
“The NDA government imported produce just before the seasons of different crops by reducing duty to zero. This has resulted in heavy loss to farmers and brought profits to middlemen,” he alleged. “Agricultural import was worth USD 18,779 million in 2014-15, which rose to USD 32,830 million in 2017-18,” Surjewala said. He claimed Food Corporation of India, under pressure from the Centre and the BJP’s Madhya Pradesh unit, has written to the Congress-led state government that it would purchase only that much grains on MSP as is required for the public distribution system (PDS) in the state.
“The farmers of Madhya Pradesh produce 90 lakh metric tonnes of grains while the FCI would purchase only 30 lakh metric tonnes at MSP as required under PDS. What would happen to the remaining grain stock,” he asked.
Replying to a query on an EVM having only BJP’s name under its symbol during a mock poll in West Bengal’s Barrackpore constituency, Surjewala said it was the Election Commission’s duty to ensure free and fair polls. He further claimed that the Modi government had asked fuel companies to increase prices of diesel and petrol by Rs 10 per litre on May 23, the day Lok Sabha polls results are announced. “But the UPA would reduce the prices after forming a government at the Centre in the first week of June,” Surjewala asserted.