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26 May 2019, 09:15 HRS IST
  • PTI
  • Cong hits out at Centre for its "anti-farmer" policies

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20:22 HRS IST

Chandigarh, May 23 (PTI) The Congress today hit out at the Centre over its "anti-farmer" policies, alleging that a "foodgrain mafia" is prospering under the current regime.

The party also claimed that farmer suicides in the country are on a rise.

"The total number of suicides by the farmers, including farm labourers, has shown a consistent increase since the BJP came to power at the Centre with an estimated 14,000 farmers committing suicide in 2016. The figure for the year 2014 was 12,360 while it was 12,630 in 2015," Congress leader and former Union minister Jitendra Singh told reporters here.

He alleged that while defaulting loans worth over a whopping Rs 1.54 lakh crore of rich people had been waived, the Modi government is "shy of bringing a comprehensive loan waiver scheme for distressed farmers".

Singh said that a foodgrain mafia was prospering under the BJP rule in the country.

He alleged that the Centre was procuring less to give undue advantage to the "foodgrain mafia".

"The Central agencies had procured about 59.18 lakh tonne less wheat in 2016-17 as compared to 2015-16 to give undue benefits to the foodgrain mafia," he said.

"On one hand, the BJP government buys less wheat from country's farmers. On the other hand, it imports wheat by reducing import duty from 25 percent to zero percent. The nexus with foodgrain mafia is evident," he added.

Picking out shortcomings in the BJP-ruled UP government's recent farm loan waiver scheme, Singh said, "Of UP's 2.15 crore small and marginal farmers, only 86.68 lakh were within the banking system. The remaining 1.28 crore farmers were denied the hyped loan waiver on account of indebtedness to money lenders".

The Congress leader said that in 2015-16, the BJP-led Centre permitted the import of pulses at Rs 44/kg, which were sold at Rs 230 per kg.

"In 2016-17, despite bumper production of 221 lakh tonne, BJP government has again permitted import of 54 lakh tonne pulses at Rs 44 per kg," he said.

On the prime minister's 'Fasal Bima Yojana', launched in April last year, Singh claimed that "the scheme benefits private empanelled companies and not the targeted farmers.

Moreover, the premium paid to companies is many times more than the compensation paid to farmers".

Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, who was also present, hit out at the Manohar Lal Khattar government in the state, alleging that it had failed on all fronts.

"People are fed up with this non-performing government," he said.

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