Blaming Centre’s policies for rising cultivation costs of farmers, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government is “defaulting” on its promise of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
In February 2015, the Union government had announced it will double farmers income in six years by 2022.
“Despite passage of over five years, no specific or structured programmes have been initiated towards this direction,” the chief minister said in a letter to Modi.
Contrary to the Centre’s policy of doubling farmers’ income, input costs have doubled in the last five years and the income of farming community has declined, causing distress to farmers, he said.
“… by raising the fertiliser prices, increasing fuel prices and faulty fixation of MSP (Minimum Support Price), the Government of India (GoI) is not only contributing to increase in the cost of cultivation to the farmers but also defaulting on the promise of doubling of farmers’ income,” he said.
Further, he pointed out that these policies coupled with threat of proposed reforms in the agriculture electricity distribution sector by fixing power consumption meters are causing great deal of “anxiety” to the farmers, he added.
Seeking prime minister’s intervention in containing price rise in fertilisers, Rao said the retail prices of most consumed non-urea fertilisers — Muriate of Potash (MoP) and Gromor (28.28.0 variant) — have increased more than 50 per cent and 100 per cent, respectively, in the last 90 days itself.
The central government instead of bearing the increasing import costs of raw materials and maintaining the prices of fertilisers at an affordable level to the farmers, has chosen to pass on the burden to the farmers, he said.
“… I request GoI to ensure that cost of fertilisers are maintained at the present level and additional cost if any to be absorbed by the GoI so that farmers are not burdened,” Rao said.
He also alleged that the GoI has turned a “blind eye” to the increasing prices of fertilisers in the last six years while encouraging states to take up campaigns to reduce urea and DAP (Di Ammonium Phosphate) consumption.
Stating that farmers are bearing the brunt of the faulty policies of the central government on fertilisers and fuel, Rao said fuel consumption in agri-sector has increased manifold due to promotion of farm mechanisation. The “indiscriminate” imposition of cess on petrol and diesel despite no increase in import price of crude oil has added distress to the farmers.
Refuting the Centre’s claim of fixing MSP at 150 per cent of the cost of production of agriculture crops as “misleading”, Rao said the central government has “no reliable mechanism” of ensuring price guarantee to the farmers for their crops apart from announcing MSP and procuring small quantities of farm produce.