Congress demands farm loan waivers

New Delhi: The Congress has alleged that the BJP-led NDA government is “hatching a conspiracy” to finish the Minimum Support Price system and leave the farmers at the mercy of the market.

The party said that the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) has recommended the purchase of wheat and paddy should be reduced. The Congress said it has apprehensions that the government wants to stop the purchase of the crops.

The party has demanded that loan waivers should be given to farmers immediately.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said “in the Budget till now the BJP government has cheated and exploited the farmers, we hope that in Budget 2020 the government will not cheat the farmers further.”

The Congress leader alleged that in 2018-19, the Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund had Rs 2,000 crore but in two years only 0.5 per cent was spent. The proposal was to setup 22,000 markets but only 376 were set up.

It said the government claims that by 2022 the farmers’ income will be doubled but now it wants to stop the MSP. The Congress also alleged that the government is not giving subsidy money to Food Corporation of India as the government has to give Rs 1,74,000 crore to FCI as the debt of the procuring agency has swelled to Rs 2,65,000 crore.

The CACP report had said “The government procured a large share of wheat production and market arrivals, about 73 per cent of production in Punjab and 80 per cent in Haryana, in Rabi marketing season 2019-20 (April-March). The Commission recommends that the open-ended procurement policy needs to be reviewed,” which the Congress says creates doubt about the motives of the government.

During the Kharif season the procuring agency is procuring the crops below the MSP which varies from 8 to 37 per cent, alleged the Congress.

The Congress has demanded that GST should be reduced on farm produce and GST should be waived on machinery used for farmers, including on pesticides.