Budget proposals seem lucrative, but not practical: Farmers

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New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) Reacting to the Narendra Modi government’s 2016-17 general budget, a cross-section of farmers on Monday said while the proposals for agriculturists seem lucrative, the budget was not practical.

Farmers said they were hoping for government assurance on remunerative prices for farm produce rather than promises of doubled income in the next five years.

“Instead of making promises, which depend on miracles, the government must focus on linking farm produce with minimum price and inflation. If they really want to increase our income, more prices for our crops would be a better offering,” said Umesh Chandra Pandey, a progressive farmer in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh.

“How will a farmer benefit with double income in five years as inflation will increase ten-fold by then? Where’s the concrete plan? We can’t live on assumptions and risks. The only offer which gives strength to a farmer is a (remunerative) minimum support price for farm produce and individual compensation for crop losses,” Pandey told IANS.

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Another farmer Anil Kumar Mishra said the government had completely ignored the fact that productivity decreases with organic farming.

“If a farm produces five quintals of rice with the use of chemical fertiliser, the same produces three quintals under organic farming. Will the government compensate for the production loss,” questioned another progressive farmer who experiments with organic farming in the Terai belt of Uttar Pradesh.

He pointed out the flaws in the system, which make most of the promises made in the 2016-17 budget look unreasonable.

“Last year, due to unseasonal rain, we faced Rabi crop loss, but no one received a single penny for the losses. Such is the system. The (official) machinery doesn’t work; the government should be more specific and reasonable. Today, we don’t know when those soil health card will reach us. It’s not a practical budget,” said Mishra, reacting to the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, a crop insurance scheme announced by the union government.

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Ram Sharan Verma, a progressive farmer, said providing fixed prices for farm produce and promoting animal husbandry would’ve been better.

“It looks good when someone speaks about organic farming and digital education in rural areas but it seems equally deceiving when looked at from the feasibility point of view. Many villages still don’t get mobile phone signals. How will e-learning happen then? I think much needs to be done before implementing this budget,” Verma told IANS.

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