Modi government betrayed farmers on MSP: Congress

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New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) The Congress party on Wednesday flayed Narendra Modi government’s “historic” decision to provide Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers 1.5 times their cost of production, saying it is just a “political lollypop” as the amount is no way near the fair value.

“The MSP announced today (Wednesday) for different crops does not satisfy ‘cost plus 50 per cent’ condition in any way. They have used prices suggested by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) for the previous year,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

He said the Modi government has cheated the farmers by not considering the full cost of cultivation and increase in prices of various farm inputs like fertilizers.

His remarks came after the Union Cabinet approved MSP for summer-sown crops for the year 2018-19.

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As against the MSP announced by the government for various crops, the Congress also released its list showing the “actual” value that should have gone to farmers based on “C2” bundle of input costs with more number of components than the “A2” bundle used by the government.

“On June 20, 2018, Modi interacted with the farmers on NaMo App and promised them ‘cost plus 50 per cent’ based on ‘C2’, but seems that was just a rhetoric. The government has conveniently sidelined various other things like price rise of farm inputs,” said the Congress man.

While the government considered per quintal cost of production of paddy as Rs 1,166 and the MSP (after adding 50 per cent of the cost) as Rs 1,750, the Congress had the production cost at Rs 1,484 and the corresponding MSP at Rs 2,226, a difference of Rs 476. Similar differences were found in other crops, ranging up to Rs 1,414 for cotton.

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The Congress leader said prices of diesel, fertilizers, insecticide0s, electricity charges and farm equipment have grown significantly over the last few years but the Modi government has gone ahead and become the first in India’s 70-year history to tax farmers and agriculture.

“This is the first government to tax farmers and farming activity. GST taxes on fertilizer is 5 per cent, on tractors and farming equipment 12 per cent and it is 18 per cent on tyre, tube, transmission parts, pesticides and cold storage equipment,” Surjewala said.

Further, the Modi government’s Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana has actually benefited the crop insurance companies more than the farmers themselves. The insurers earned Rs 14,828 crore as profit, while the payment to farmers was Rs 5,650 crore in 2016-17, he said.

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Earlier, announcing the Cabinet decision, Union Minister Rajnath Singh said the “historic” decision was a part of the NDA government’s plan to double farmers’ income by 2022.

–IANS

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