Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Tuesday alleged that the NDA government, after having promised to double farmers’ income, has disappointed people on agriculture front as well. “…Keep lying and mislead people. Make good gimmicks. (They say) ‘Sab ka sath sab ka vikas’. Now, it is ‘sab ka sath sab ka satyanash’,” he said. Aiyar was speaking at a symposium organised by the Telangana Congress on ‘Indian Agriculture – Contribution of Smt Indira Gandhi and a review of present scenario’ as part of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s birth centenary celebrations.
The minimum support price (MSP) for farmers this year has come down compared to last year, Aiyar claimed. “Sixty per cent of India’s population is in agriculture. What is their condition? I will tell you the condition. Indiraji started Minimum Support Price.
“That means, you (farmer) should get more than this. If that is not available, we will support you. Arhar – MSP is Rs 5,050 per quintal. It is being sold at Rs 2,700,” he said. Giving out figures, he claimed that other crops like garlic, onion, potato are also being sold at a price less than last year’s price.
The input costs in agriculture have increased substantially thus offsetting any rise in price for the produce, he said. “They say we will get (farmers) income doubled. How will you double? This helpless man goes to market and sees that his expenditure is rising. Somebody told me that there is a 700 per cent rise in expenditure of inputs compared to 1991,” Aiyar said.
Recalling that Rajiv Gandhi, when he was Prime Minister in the 1980s, personally visited villages during a crisis in agriculture, he alleged that the present government spoke only rhetoric.
Hailing the leadership of Indira Gandhi in improving agriculture in the country, the Congress leader said she was instrumental in the success of ‘Green Revolution’. C Subramaniam (Agriculture Minister), MS Swaminathan (scientist) and Sivaraman (bureaucrat) made stellar contributions to ‘green revolution’ then, but incumbent Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh suggested doing Yoga as a way to address distress in agriculture, he said.
Under the present NDA regime, situation in Kashmir worsened and India’s relations with neighbouring countries like Pakistan, China, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have suffered, Aiyar claimed.