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Members in LS call for increasing farm income; BJP takes jibe at Congress over thin presence of MPs

ANI | Updated: Dec 05, 2019 23:57 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec 5 (ANI): Members in Lok Sabha on Thursday spoke of the need to raise the income of farmers and expressed concern over the adversities faced by them as the debate on agrarian issues saw BJP members taking jibes at Congress over the thin presence of its lawmakers.
The debate on 'crop loss due to various reasons and its impact on farmers' saw the participation of 51 members but was marked by relatively low attendance in the House.
While BJP members talked of initiatives of the government to boost farm income, opposition members accused the party of neglecting farmers.
The debate saw members making a number of suggestions such as improving terms of crop insurance, giving loan waiver, linking agriculture to MGNREGA, better storage facilities, pest control, mechanisation, limiting damage from man-animal conflict and revising curriculum of agriculture universities. Steep hike in the price of onions also figured in the debate.
Initiating the debate, Congress member from Mavelikkara K Suresh accused the government of not having "intent, desire, and concern" for addressing the issues of farmers.
He said the notice he gave for discussion `agrarian crisis and farmers' distress' was not accepted by the government.
"This anti-farmer attitude of the BJP Government stands exposed as the Modi government is afraid of facing the truth of deeply disturbing agrarian crisis engulfing the country," he said.
Suresh said Congress viewed agriculture as vital to the livelihood of people.
"More than two-thirds of the population in this country derives its livelihood from agriculture and farming. It is only natural to stand by them and the Congress party always stood with the farmers, labourers, the deprived and the working class," he said.
Suresh accused BJP-led governments of diluting powers of Agriculture Ministry and said it was an extension of "corporate and imperial interests".
He said successive Congress governments have laid a strong base of agriculture in the country.
Suresh alleged that the plan to double farmers' income by 2022 was "a plot to cover up its lack of interest in making agriculture sustainable".
He also referred to suicides by farmers and said the National Crime Records Bureau report had said 11,379 farmers committed suicide in 2016.
Suresh said Kerala had seen repeated floods and natural calamities and accused the Central government of "ignoring" appeals for assistance.
Party members expressed doubt over the BJP government realising its target of doubling farmers' income by 2022.
BJP member Bhagirath Chaudhary said that there has been a steep rise in input costs of farmers but not commensurate rise in his income. He said in 1975 cost of diesel was 95 paisa per litre while Bajra was sold at Rs 2 per kg. "Look at their rates today," he said.
Taking a dig at Congress, Chaudhary said the House was discussing an important issue but "opposition benches were empty".
Some other BJP members also took dig at Congress and opposition parties. They said Congress organised protests outside parliament but most of its members were not present in the House during the debate.
They said BJP government had taken initiatives like Kisan credit card, PM-KISAN and crop insurance.
Chowdhary said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has increased minimum support price of crops. "What has Congress done, they ruled for 55-60 years," he said.
Party member Saumitra Khan laid stress on organic farming.
YSR Congress Party's K Raghurama Krishnam Raju urged the Centre to do justice to the farmers and provide adequate insurance support in case of their crop loss.
Shiv Sena member Vinayak Raut raised the problems of farmers in Maharashtra.
Amar Singh of Congress said enough work had not been done to study the impact of climate change on crops. "Our preparation is not adequate," he said.
IUML's ET Mohammed Basheer laid stress on mechanisation and said there was a need to revise the curriculum of agriculture universities.
BJP's Jagdambika Pal later said attendance was thin on Congress benches and at one point no member of the party was present in the House. (ANI)