The Congress on Thursday demanded that a committee on minimum support price for crops be constituted immediately as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last November and also sought a white paper on the “prevailing foodgrain crisis” in the country.
Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda claimed that foodgrain stocks in India were at a 15-year low and per capita stocks at a 50-year low. This is why the government had reduced wheat allocations to 10 states, including BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, he alleged.
“We want to tell the government to immediately set up the MSP committee as promised to farmers by the prime minister to provide a legal guarantee to minimum support price. The government should also publish a white paper on the current crisis of foodgrains, clearly spelling out who has benefited from the export of wheat. The white paper should also be on the procurement and public distribution system policy in the country,” he told reporters.
Hooda said the Congress stands with farmers and will raise their demands in the upcoming session of Parliament starting July 18, besides extending moral support to the farmers ‘Vishwasghaat Seminars’ from July 18 to 31.
“The BJP government’s motto is to stand with some big industrialists and serve them while exploiting farmers and farm labourers,” the Rajya Sabha MP from Haryana alleged.
National security, foodgrain security and income of farmers had been endangered due to the government’s policies, he alleged.
Taking a dig at the BJP-led Union government, Hooda alleged that it has put its promise of doubling farmers’ income and setting up a committee on MSP in the same basket as its “unfulfilled” promise of providing two crore jobs and bringing back black money from abroad.
“This may be viewed as either a ‘jumla’ (rhetoric) or betrayal with farmers,” he alleged.
The Congress leader also said his party stands with the demands of farmers and would support them in their agitation.
“The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) is holding “Vishwasghaat seminars” from July 18 to 31 across the country and the party will lend its full support to them,” he said.
In March 2022, farmers, under the banner of SKM, had submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor over various issues, including their demand for setting up a panel on minimum support price (MSP). They also demanded a rollback of a recent move by the Centre to bring changes in the rules for the selection of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) members.
Several farmer leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, Jagjit Singh Dallewal and Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) general secretary Harinder Singh Lakhowal, had submitted the memorandum to Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
The farmer bodies that sent representatives to submit the memorandum to the governor included the Krantikari Kisan Union, the BKU (Krantikari), the Azad Kisan Committee (Doaba) and the BKU (Lakhowal). (PTI)