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Centre’s ‘faulty’ policies affecting farmers, KCR writes to PM

Centre’s ‘faulty’ policies affecting farmers, KCR writes to PM

He said that the government of India is not only contributing to the increase in the cost of cultivation for the farmers, but also defaulting on the promise of doubling farmers' income.

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Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday dashed off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that the Central government has burdened the farmers by raising fertiliser prices, hiking fuel prices and through faulty fixation of Minimum Support Price (MSP).

He said that the government of India is not only contributing to the increase in the cost of cultivation for the farmers, but also defaulting on the promise of doubling farmers’ income.

These policies coupled with the threat of proposed reforms in the agriculture electricity distribution sector by fixing power consumption meters are causing great deal of anxiety to the hardworking farmers of our country, wrote KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known.

He urged the Prime Minister to ensure that the prices of fertilisers are maintained at the present level and additional cost, if any, be absorbed by the government of India so that the farmers are not burdened.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief wrote to the PM hours after issuing a statement, in which he urged the people of the country to uproot the BJP government at the Centre, saying it is weakening the rural economy and playing havoc with the farm sector.

KCR reminded Modi that in February 2016, the Centre had announced that it will double farmers’ income in six years by 2022. He said that despite the passage of over five years, no specific or structured programme has been initiated towards this direction.

“Contrary to your policy of doubling farmers’ income, to the dismay of one and all, input costs have doubled in the last five years and the income of the farming community is declined, causing distress to the farmers. The government of India has turned a blind eye to the increasing prices of fertilisers in the last six years, while encouraging states to take up campaigns to reduce urea and DAP consumption.

“It is sad to note that the prices of two most consumed fertilisers — 28.28.0 and MoP (Muriate of Potash) — have increased by more than 50 per cent and 100 per cent, respectively, in the last 90 days itself,” read the letter.

KCR noted that the government of India, instead of bearing the increasing import costs of raw materials and maintaining the prices of fertilisers at an affordable level, has chosen to pass on the burden to the farmers.

“You are also aware that fuel consumption in the agriculture sector has increased manifold due to promotion of farm mechanisation by the states. Even in the case of petrol/diesel pricing, indiscriminate imposition of cess across the board despite no increase in import price of crude oil has added great distress to the farmers,” KCR said.

“Due to the faulty policies of the government of India in both the cases of petrol/diesel pricing and fertiliser pricing, the farmers are bearing the brunt. It is pertinent to highlight that these steps are causing great deal of anxiety to the farmers as the seven-decade-old fertiliser subsidy regime under the purview of the government of India is being modified against the interest of the farming community,” he added.

He recalled that the Telangana state legislature had passed a unanimous resolution to integrate MNREGA with agricultural activity so that cost of labour is partially borne by the government along with farmers, but the government of India choose not to respond.

The Chief Minister said that while accepting the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission to peg MSP for farm produce at 50 percent more than the weighted average cost of production, essential costs of farm rentals and cost of fixed capital assets were deliberately excluded while calculating cost of crop to farmers.

“Hence, the claim that MSP is pegged at 150 per cent of the cost of crop is misleading. Further, apart from announcing MSP and procuring small quantities of crops, the government of India has no reliable mechanism of ensuring price guarantee to the farmers for their crops. It is also noticed that under the guise of pegging FAQ standards at global levels, the farmers are denied MSP and are compelled to sell their produce at lower prices, thereby making agriculture non-remunerative,” the Chief Minister wrote.