Lok Sabha

July 9, 2014

Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar speaks on price rise | Transcript

We have to stand by the farmers of the country. I would request the hon. Minister and the Prime Minister to look into the possibility of standing by the farmers, to supply fertilizers at an affordable rate.

Our State Government in West Bengal is now supplying rice to more than 3.5 crore poor people at Rs. 2/- per kilo. My Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is doing it, for which I am proud of her. But when you abuse her, it hurts me because she is for the poor people. She is supplying medicines at fair price shops.

From the fair price shops in West Bengal, poor people are getting medicines at very cheap rate. I would like to request the hon. Prime Minister and the hon. Agriculture Minister to look into the packaging material because every year we are losing grains up to Rs.58,000 crore worth because there is no proper storage system in the country. This year we are told that due to the rain coming late and being less in amount than other years, the crop is going to be even worse. So, we will have to take it up. We will have to stand by the farmer and extend support to him to have the best yield possible to supply to the poor people. Onion stands at Rs.32 to Rs.35 per kilo. Potato is at Rs.25 per kilo. Pulses are at Rs.80 per kilo. So, what is the poor man going to eat? Rs.58,000 crore worth of grain is being wasted due to pests because the infrastructure is not there.

I would like to bring this to the notice of the hon. Agriculture Minister, if he is around there. I do not know whether he is in. I do not know whether he is listening or not. Uncontrolled export of skimmed milk powder from the country from 2013-14 is giving hyper inflation of the price by over 70 per cent in the last one year. As you know, milk is a source of cheap protein. Being a doctor I know that it should be used and it is used by children. It is used by the aged people. It is used by pregnant mothers and it is used for the sick for their recuperation and for having taken medicine, they need milk and milk products. But what happened in the last one year? We do not know. The export and import data bank of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry says that during 2013 and 2014 export of milk powder increased by 78 per cent at Rs.210 per kilo and in the domestic market, it is being sold at Rs.250 to Rs.300 per kilo. So, it is absolutely apparent that this is not for value addition. But is it for inflation profiteering?

I would request you to look into this fact because milk is a very important source of protein. It is a very important source in the diet and it is very important for poor people. I would also request that crop insurance started by my leader, Shrimati Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal should be universally practiced. Kisan Mandi being opened by her in every block should be universally practiced. We have to stand by the farmer because if Kisan Mandi is not there, then the produce rots. If Kisan Mandi is not there and crop insurance is not there and if there is a drought or if there is a flood, then the crop is wasted and the poor farmer takes loan. The poor farmers sometimes give mortgage to the person and take money to sow the crop. But once the crop is sowed and if there is no rain, then the crops dry on the field. So, the farmer cannot pay back the mortgage.…

I would request that crop insurance be started in the whole country. Kisan Mandi be set up in the whole country. Hoarding should stop because hoarding results in inflation. So, hoarding should stop.

Modernization of the crop should be there. We are in the festive season. The Pavitra Ramzan month is going on. After a few days we have Id. After that, we have Durga Puja.

We have Diwali. The people would require lesser priced food grains to enjoy during the festive season. So, I would request you to look into this matter seriously because the people of India deserve it; the people of India want you to be affirmative in your actions and stand by them.

I would request you to look into the matter of supply of fertilizers at affordable prices to the farmers so that they can afford to buy fertilizers and grow their crops and increase the yield.  We distinctly oppose FDI in rail; FDI in retail because, I am sure, there are international houses, who are coming in the form of FDI. They are not coming here to do social work; they are coming here for profit. So, I should not allow, neither should the Government allow FDI in retail; FDI in rail. Privatisation in railways is going to adversely affect our economy. Thank you.