FARMERS OF Punjab have called the Union Budget anti-farmer despite an allocation of Rs 1,87,223 crore, which is 24 per cent higher than last year’s, for rural, agricultural and allied sectors. Farmers and farm organisations said there is hardly anything for the welfare of the depressed farmers and despite the government’s promise to implement the Swaminathan Commission report, the budget is silent over it. They say there is not a single hint of crop pricing as well as loan waiver plan from bank debt and diversification push. In the absence of any such deal, how will the big promises pertaining to loan waivers by political parties in poll-bound Punjab be fulfilled and how would the small and marginal farmers, who have been facing a crisis for the past few years owing to huge debts and poor returns of their produce, be prevented from committing suicide?
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Talking to The Indian Express on phone on Monday, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), general secretary Jagmohan Singh said it is not at all a promising budget for the farmers and till the Swaminathan Commission report is implemented, the welfare of farmers is not possible. “Moreover, the government had said last year that farmers’ income would be doubled in the next five years and now when one year has already lapsed, there has not even been a one per cent hike in farmer’s incomen,” he said while quoting an instance that in the past four years, his income from Basmati crop, a non-MSP crop, has come down from Rs 4,200 per quintal to Rs 2,300 per quintal this fiscal.
The budget has mentioned about decreasing interest rate on the principal debt amount but it is not saying anything about waiving of the farmers debt which is around Rs 70,000 crores in Punjab, said another