Alleging the Union Budget for 2022-23 has shown the government does not care about farmers’ welfare, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Tuesday called on farmers to prepare for another “massive struggle” over minimum support price and other issues.
The umbrella body of farm unions, that spearheaded protests against the Centre’s now-repealed agri laws, claimed there has been a reduction in the share of agriculture and allied activities in the Budget to 3.8 per cent from 4.3 per cent last time.
It claimed the government wants to “punish” the farmers for their successful over a year-long demonstration at Delhi’s borders that was withdrawn after the contentious farm laws were rescinded in Parliament last year.
“On the whole, this Budget has shown the government does not care about the welfare of farmers despite the ‘jumla’ (rhetoric) of adding ‘Farmers Welfare’ to the name of its Ministry. It is as if the government, smarting under its defeat on the three anti-farmer laws, is out to take revenge on the farmer community,” the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) said in a statement.
It pointed out that the government has not established the committee on MSP even after 50 days of its written promise.
“While the farmers are demanding MSP guarantee for all crops, the Budget speech mentioned only procurement for paddy and wheat from 1.63 crore farmers which form about 10 per cent of all farmers in the country. The SKM denounces this anti-farmer budget and calls upon the farmers of the country to prepare for another massive struggle for the minimum support price and other burning issues,” the statement said.
Accusing the government of “stalling” the demand for legal guarantee of MSP, it said, “The least expected by the farmers is the government will make sufficient budget allocations to implement MSP.” On Monday too, the SKM threatened to resume its agitation if the government does not fulfil promises made to farmers in December last year.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh camped at Delhi’s borders for over a year demanding the repeal of the Centre’s three contentious farm laws.
They decided to suspend their protest, on December 9 last year after the government gave in to their main demand and agreed to consider six others, including a legal guarantee on MSP.
Meanwhile, hitting out at the Centre over “hollow claims” regarding the agri sector in the Union Budget, Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav on Tuesday alleged the government took its “revenge” on farmers for leading a successful movement against the now-repealed farm laws.
“This budget has been marked by silence with regard to farmers as there was no mention of doubling the farmer’s income or comments on schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY),” he said. “As far as farmers are concerned, the message of this budget is clear. The government, humiliated by the farmers’ movement, is out to take revenge on them. The budget was characterised by silence,” Yadav said in a video message on Twitter.
He said there is no allocation, declaration or dialogue about farmers in the 2022-23 Union Budget.
“Earlier you had beautiful dialogues, talks about farmers in every budget speech, even though there were no allocations. This time, no allocations, no declarations and no dialogues either. Clearly, the finance minister and the prime minister are very upset with the farmers,” Yadav added.
“This year, the work to double farmers’ income was to be completed. The previous five budgets had long poems about doubling the income of farmers. This year, when that work was to be accounted for, there was complete silence about it. Since the last two years, we heard about agriculture investment funds of Rs 1 lakh crore. However, just Rs 2,600 crores have been spent,” Yadav said. (PTI)