The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), which is supporting the NDA government, on Sunday criticised the agricultural policies being adopted by the Narendra Modi government.
SSS chief Raju Shetti came out hard on NDA government saying, “farmers were disappointed that the government was continuing with the ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the previous government.” Shetti also said that his party would stage protests if the decisions taken in the last few days were not revised.
Shetti said he was unhappy with the government for its decision to include agriculture commodities — onion and potato — under the Essential Commodities Act and not fulfilling the promise of ensuring 50 per cent profit over input cost of a crop.
“During his (Modi’s) election campaign, he had promised farmers at a rally in Sangli that if elected he would ensure that the minimum support price for agricultural products will be decided in such a way that the farmers get at least a 50 per cent profit over the total input cost for a crop. What happened now? Forget about 50 per cent profit, the new government has increased the minimum support price by only 1-2 per cent while the inflation has increased by 15-16 per cent. This is nothing but a cruel joke with the farming community,” Shetti said.
Shetti said he had conveyed his displeasure to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, adding that if things were not resolved, the party would take to the streets.
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“It’s ridiculous to include commodities like onion and potato under the Essential Commodities Act. On one hand, the government is increasing the price of fuel and transport, but at the same time it is reducing the prices of agricultural commodities. Why is it that always farmers have to sacrifice their interests to fight inflation? Why can’t they use it as an opportunity to make some money,” he asked.
Shetti’s party had so far contested both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections independently. However, in January 2014, when the Sangathan joined the NDA, Shetty had said the party decided to enter the alliance after he was promised that issues affecting Maharashtra farmers would be resolved.
“In many constituencies of Maharashtra, the NDA succeeded because of our support. UPA’s agriculture policies has ruined the farming community and hence we were fiercely opposed to it. But the new government too seems to continue these anti-farmer policies. We can’t sit back and watch,” he said.