Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement of a slew of measures for agriculture and allied activities as part of the third tranche of the Centre’s economic package on Friday came under fire from the Congress and the Left parties, which accused the government of repacking and re-marketing existing schemes. They maintained that the government has not allocated even a single additional rupee for farmers.
The Congress slammed the package and announcements made over the last three days as “voodoo economics package”.
The Left parties criticised the government for focusing on medium- and long-term measures instead of providing succour to lakhs of migrant workers who are desperately trying to get home, as also the farmers in distress.
NCP chief and former Union Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar also expressed “disappointment” with the package. Stating that there is no clarity on financial aid for the ensuing kharif season and no relief for losses incurred by horticultural crop growers, Pawar said, “This announcement appears like a five-year plan and not a relief package, as publicised.”
Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said: “It has become clear that the Narendra Modi government has failed to move from headline management to helpline management. The worst sufferers of the coronavirus pandemic had been farmers and workers. But the government, instead of helping them, is pushing them into a debt trap. For instance, farmers have suffered a loss of an estimated Rs 50,000 crore because they have not been able to get attractive prices for their produce, but the government today did not announce even a single rupee for them.”
Former Union minister Jairam Ramesh said most announcements made by the Finance Minister on Friday were part of the Budget.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury called the announcements “mega-repackaging” and said the measures announced on agriculture deal more with post-Covid period rather than addressing the crisis itself and its devastating impact on rural India.
CPI leader D Raja said, “The government is insensitive and is unable to address the current crisis. It talks of reforms. It is for the future. The issue is how the government is going to address the sufferings of farmers and daily wage workers.”