Opposition questions Govt claims on Farm distress

RSTV Bureau

Radha-mohan-singhOpposition members in Rajya Sabha raised pointed queries on farmer’s issue seeking answers from the Central government. The matter led to exchange between the ruling and opposition benches leading to walkout by the members of Samajwadi Party on Friday.

Responding to the debate, Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh told the house about government initiating a host of schemes and programmes aimed at doubling the farmer’s income, reducing input costs, increasing produce and improved remuneration.

However, that didn’t pacify the opposition members.

Asking why the government was going back on its promise of giving MSP to farmers at 50 per cent over their input costs, JD (U) member Pavan Varma said “government had reneged on its promise”.

“The question is benefit of farmers in terms of better price recovery. In this context, government had made a promise of giving 50 per cent more MSP than input costs. Why has the government gone back on its promise and given an affidavit in the court against fulfilling this,” Varma asked.

To this, the Minister said, “my government stands with its commitment that farmers should get 1.5 times their input costs. You see the manifesto. We have started schemes in this regard. Efforts to increase farmer’s income have started.”

Questioning the centre further, SP member Naresh Agrawal asked why were states getting only one-third of what they were asking for to tackle natural calamities.

Dissatisfied with Radha Mohan Singh’s reply that Modi government has come to power, there has been 2.5 times increase in grants to states as sought by them, Agrawal alleged that the Minister was not giving a straight reply to his question, before staging a walkout with his party colleagues.

Earlier, the Union Agriculture minister also told the house that government is working to boost farmers’ income but added that experts have consistently felt that raising MSP to one and half times of the cost, as suggested by Swaminathan Commission, could cause market distortions.

“Whenever the issue has been raised, whether it is your government or mine, experts have felt that if MSP is raised to one and half times, it would lead to distortions in the market,” he told members.

(With inputs from the PTI)