Rajya Sabha debates farmers’ distress

Rajya Sabha took up the issue of agrarian crisis on Tuesday during the Short Duration Discussion. Members of all political parties raised the serious issue of farmer suicides in rural India and highlighted the distress in the farm sector.

Initiating the discussion, Congress senior leader Digvijaya Singh (Cong) accused the government of being “insensitive” to the plight of the farmers.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh in Rajya Sabha

Congress leader Digvijay Singh in Rajya Sabha

The former Madhya Pradesh CM termed the imposition of import-export duties on foodgrains as one of the biggest scams.

“Despite the bumper crop, import duty on wheat was reduced initially to 10 per cent from 25 per cent and then to zero in December, impacting farmers adversely as imported wheat was available at cheaper prices,” Singh said.

The Congress leader also alleged that there was corruption in Food Corporation of India (FCI) and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED).

BJP MP Prabhat Jha speaking in Rajya Sabha

BJP MP Prabhat Jha speaking in Rajya Sabha

BJP MP Prabhat Jha said that union government is providing all the necessary support to farmers through various schemes like crop insurance. He talked about the measures taken by the government to reduce the burden on farmers.

“India has witnessed a record crop production in the last three years, and this year there has been a bumper harvest,” Jha said.

Jha also said that reforms brought in by the Narendra Modi government helped India become the largest producer of milk, fruits, and rice.

Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh in Rajya Sabha

Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh in Rajya Sabha

Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said that the country lags behind in food processing sector due to which loads of perishable food items are thrown away every year. He asked the government to speed up building of storage facilities in rural areas.

“India is second after US in having farm land areas yet farmers in our country are poor and committing suicide. Farmers will not be benefited by loan waiver. Everything can wait but not agriculture,” he said.

The short duration discussion was supposed to be completed on Tuesday but the house has decided to allot more time for speakers to present their point of view.

Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh is expected to reply to the short duration discussion on Wednesday at 3 PM.