Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday accused the Congress of paying lip-service to farmers' welfare and listed his party-led government's initiatives for their well being. "We are not like the Congress which will only pay lip-service to farmers but ignore their well-being. Whenever Congress is in power, farmers suffer," Modi said.
Launching an all-out attack on the opposition party during his interaction with BJP workers from Tamil Nadu via video conference from New Delhi, Modi alleged that in Maharashtra, the Congress was at the forefront of an irrigation scam. Just a few days ago, a top Congress leader from Punjab said his party-led government in Punjab was not serious about issues relating to sugarcane farmers, PM Modi alleged.
Citing media reports on loan waiver for farmers, Modi said in Karnakata, where the Congress-JDS coalition government is in power, "only 800 farmers got mere benefits, is this a joke? is this how serious they are they about farmers."
Only BJP understood farmers and agriculture issues, he said. On farmer friendly initiatives, he asked if noted agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan's report did not exist during the UPA rule.
The BJP-led government is the most farmer friendly government, he said. "In a historic step, the MSP has been increased to ensure that farmers get at least 150 per cent of cost of production." The National Policy for Farmers, a policy framework, was prepared by Swaminathan, who was the chairman of the National Commission on Farmers during the 2004-09 UPA rule.
The NPF's policy goals include improving the economic viability of farming by substantially increasing the net income of farmers and a better Minimum Support Price. During the UPA rule, when farmers asked for urea all they got was lathi-charge, he claimed. When they asked for higher MSPs, all they got was empty promises, he said.
Farmers asked for an increase in income but all they got was insensitivity, he claimed. From 2009-14, the UPA government allocated Rs 1.21 lakh crore for the agriculture sector while in the last 4 years, the BJP-led government allocated Rs 2.11 lakh crore. During 2009-14, only a quantity of 7.28 lakh tonnes of pulses and oilseeds was procured under the MSP.
In the last 4 years, the BJP government procured 93.97 lakh tonnes of pulses and oilseeds under MSP which is 13 times the quantity procured by UPA, Modi said. Overall, the NDA government has brought about a paradigm shift and is working hard to double the farmers' income, he said. "This is happening by reducing input cost, wastage and ensuring a fair price for crop and creating alternative means of income." He also referred to 'e-nam' (National Agriculture Market) for best market prices and said more than 1.27 crore farmers and sellers were already on the platform and get high returns. The focus was also on initiatives like a cold chain and food park for value addition to increase profit, he said.