March 16, 2017
Ratna De Nag speaks in Lok Sabha on Demands for Grants for Agriculture Ministry
Thank you Chairman Sir, for allowing me to speak on Demands for Grants for Ministry of Agriculture. Hon’ble Finance Minister said that major focus has been given on agriculture economy and farmer welfare. But on one hand we see farmers commit suicide every day. There is an increase in the number of farmer’s suicide in last three years. Even the Supreme Court has stepped in and sought a reply from the Central Government why it has not framed any policy on this.
Government claims for allowing an agricultural credit of Rs 10 crore and the allocation of Rs 9000 crore for the Fasal Bima Yojana. Likewise announcement of Soil Health Cards, modern law on contract farming and allocation of Rs 8000 crore for diary fund and increase in the national agriculture market from 250 to 500, increase in the funding for rural and agriculture sector by 24% in the fiscal year 2017-18 to Rs 1.87 trillion.
All these would find reason and help the farmers wholly when they are providing with loans at low rate of interest from the banks. And at the times of the floods and droughts loans of the farmers should be waived off. Unless you help the farmer to come out of the tentacles of suicide there is no point of saying aloud about doing this or that.
For examples see the news items of the statement dated March 7, 2017 from districts in Maharashtra claims 3052 lives in 2016. This is the figure of just one year which means more than eight farmers committed suicide every day of the year, that too in just one State. What about the other states?
See the figure of NPAs of public sector banks; it is soaring every day – Rs 6.8 lakh crore. 70% of them are big corporate houses. This government has no hesitation to take measures to check the ever rising NPAs of bank but think innumerable times to waive off the loans of the farmers due to which they are committing suicide. Farmers are the backbone of our economy and our country.
The Hon’ble Finance Minister brings more regulated market to the electronic national regulator market platform. Is the country or the farmers’ community or the rural area ready for such an electronic platform?
Sir, another ambitious announcement is to bring 1 crore households out of poverty and 50000 villages will be made poverty free. How many households in the farmers communities were brought out of poverty? How many Gram Panchayats have been made poverty free? How much emphasis has been paid by the Ministry on farming technology and reducing the impact of climate change?
As per the reports of the Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022 issued by the Indian Council for Agriculture Research, the average monthly income of a person from farming increased from Rs 1060 in 2003 to Rs 3844 in 2013. Which means income per farmers got compounded annually only at a growth rate of 13.7% . When facts speak in this fashion, how would the Government dream of doubling the farmers’ income by 2019?
Sir, amount allocated for research and education of agriculture is Rs 6800 Crore only which is way below 1% of agricultural GDP. That needs to be allocated to revitalise our agriculture with new seeds and innovations. It is reported in the Times of India dated February 2, 2017, that in comparison just one seed company Monsanto spends almost 70% more resources for research and development of seeds and chemicals than the entire ICRC system in India.
Lastly, I will conclude by saying the potato growers in West Bengal and in some other States are facing difficulties as their produce is sold at half the price; they are incurring huge losses. They are not deriving any profit in spite of toiling in the farm to grow potatoes. There is an urgent need to provide subsidy to the potato growers as the Central Government extends subsidy to the rice growers.
Thank you very much Sir.