The Congress on Friday flagged “dwindling food stocks” and said the country was staring at a “severe food crisis” for which the Modi government’s “anti-farmer” policies were responsible.
The Opposition party said the dwindling food stocks in the country were at a 15-year low and at a 50-year low in per capita terms.
Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi, newly-appointed Kisan Congress chief Sukhpal Khaira also demanded the immediate setting up of a committee to ensure a legal guarantee for the Minimum Support Price as committed to the farmers’ umbrella body Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) before the withdrawal of the farm law agitation.
Accusing the Modi government of adopting “anti-farmer” policies, Congress leaders Khaira and media department head Pawan Khera highlighted how the central government has slashed wheat allocations to 10 states, including Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh because of a fall in wheat output.
Khaira said while Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal has been desperately urging states to increase paddy production after many years of asking them to reduce paddy acreage, farmers are reeling under fertiliser shortages and spiralling fertiliser prices.
“This mismanagement is also accompanied by betrayal and the Modi government is still trying to help its billionaire friends by bringing the discredited farm bills in by the backdoor,” he alleged, adding that it is either “ignoring or subverting” the agreements it reached with the SKM to end the farmers’ movement.
“The All India Kisan Congress supports the SKM’s decision to launch a protest in 500 districts against the refusal of the BJP government to implement their reasonable demands, which include to immediately set up a government committee on enforcing a legal guarantee of Minimum Support Prices (MSP),” Khaira said.
He said while the government has been delaying this under one or the other excuse, the NITI Aayog has called for an end to farm procurement.
“The party supports the SKM demand for the withdrawal of false cases against farmers for which no action has been taken yet,” the Congress leader said. “It also supports the demand for the withdrawal of the ‘draconian’ Electricity Amendment bill that the government is planning to introduce in the Monsoon session of Parliament contrary to all assurances,” he said.
The party also demanded withdrawal of the “anti-youth and anti-farmer” Agnipath scheme and removal of Ajay Mishra Teni from the Union Cabinet over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.
Khaira also said that implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report will be the prime focus of the Kisan Congress, besides highlighting the problems and issues faced by the farmers and landless labourers across the country.
He said that Kisan Congress’ top priorities will be to press for rejuvenation of agriculture and to address the issue of debt and consequent suicides by farmers across the country. He claimed in Punjab alone, farmers have a cumulative institutional debt of Rs 1 lakh crore.
Khaira said farm suicides were being reported from across the country in all the states. He further said that 60-70 per cent of the population of India is dependent on agriculture, but the sector was no longer rewarding or remunerative and that agriculture incomes were declining rather than being doubled by 2022.
On the issue of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations, he pointed out that all political parties promise to implement these recommendations but the moment they assume power they forget the recommendations. “This must end,” Khaira asserted. (PTI)