Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Friday accused the BJP of not fulfilling its 2014 poll promise of implementing the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations.
“The Congress comes out with only one manifesto, while the BJP has two, one published before elections and another that comes out after elections, which eventually becomes a `jumla’ (rhetoric),” the Congress leader told reporters here.
“The BJP had promised that it will implement the Swaminathan Commission report on Minimum Support Price (MSP). We believe that farmers need to get 50 per cent profit on their investment, or else agriculture will not be sustainable,” said Hooda.
“After the BJP formed a government at the Centre, it submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court, saying it will not implement the Swaminathan report,” he said.
Farmers have seen only an average 6 per cent increase in MSP during the present BJP-led NDA regime, against 19 per cent increase in MSP during the UPA rule, Hooda claimed.
“UPA gave 11 per cent hike in MSP for cotton, which went down to two per cent during the NDA rule. For groundnut, we gave 19 per cent hike, which is today down to three per cent,” Hooda said, adding that while farmers saw a drop in returns on investment, the end products did not become correspondingly cheaper, hurting the middle class.
“While farmers are not getting returns on potatoes or tomatoes, chips or sauce have not become cheaper. What kind of policy is this where both producers and consumers are losers?” he asked.
The GST — which, he said, meant “Gayi Sarkar Tumhari” for the BJP — on fertilisers and pesticides, which were tax-free during the Congress rule, has increased the debt burden on farmers even as the Centre has refused them the loan waiver, the former Haryana CM said.
“The UPA government waived Rs 72,000 crore of farm loans, while during the NDA rule, the debt burden on farmers has risen from Rs 8.5 lakh crore to Rs 13-14 lakh crore. This is because while crop investment has increased, farmers are not getting proper returns,” he said.
“The BJP’s policy is directed towards (benefiting) the rich. Top one per cent of the country hold 57-58 per cent of the wealth, and top 100 rich people have seen 26 per cent rise in their income. The government is neither of the poor nor the middle class but of the rich,” the Congress leader said.