Are people paying Krishi Kalyan cess so that the government could buy bullets to be shot at farmers, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) today asked, as it attacked the Centre over the violent stir by peasants in Madhya Pradesh. The Left party’s criticism of the government comes after five protesting farmers were killed, allegedly in police firing, in Mandsaur district of the state. The cess concerned is a tax imposed by the government since June 1, 2016 on all services at the rate of 0.5 per cent for financing betterment of agriculture sector and farmers’ welfare.
Taking to Twitter, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also suggested the Centre was “shying away” from taking questions on the stir from media, sarcastically saying the “brave” government is not taking question on the issue. Yechury also referred to certain reports claiming Union Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh cancelled his scheduled press briefing on his department’s three-year achievements to drive his point.
The media conference post-weekly cabinet meeting too was cancelled for the same reason, Yechury sought to underline. “Are we all paying the Krishi Kalyan Cess to the Central government so that it can buy more bullets to fire on farmers? “Such a brave govt, takes no questions. Its agri minister cancels 3-year “celebration” press meet. No briefing after cabinet meeting either (sic),” Yechury tweeted.
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The farmers in western Madhya Pradesh, particularly Mandsaur and Dewas districts, have been protesting for a week now demanding debt relief and better crop prices. The protest, however, has been marred by violence and killings of peasants allegedly in police firing.