Friday, May 24, 2024

Budget showed govt’s revenge on struggling farmers: Farmers’ groups

Nirmala Sitaraman with the budget report
Indian finance minister with the 2022 union budget report at parliament

The Union government’s target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, a standard motto of recent Budget speeches, found no mention this time, alleged farmers’ groups.

Noting that the agriculture sector’s share in the overall Budget allocations fell from 4.26% in 2021-22 to 3.84%, farmers’ groups called on farmers to prepare for another “massive struggle” over minimum support price and other issues.

“This Budget is the govt’s revenge on the struggling farmers and a call for the farmers to intensify the movement for MSP Guarantee Act,” said an assessment by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM).

“After the unprecedented agitation of farmers over the past one and half years, farmers of the country expected that a sensitive government would have come up with specific effective measures in this Budget to address their situation of not getting remunerative prices, facing crop losses due to natural calamities, and sinking deeper into debt. Instead the government reduced the share of Agriculture and Allied Activities in the total budget from 4.3% last year to 3.8% this year, showing that it wants to punish the farmers for their successful movement,” read a statement by SKM.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha is the umbrella body of more than 30 farmer unions that led the historic agitation against the now repealed farm laws.

The SKM pointed out that the Union government has not established the committee on MSP even after 50 days of its written promise.

“While the farmers are demanding MSP guarantee for all crops, the Budget speech mentioned only procurement for paddy and wheat from 1.63 crore farmers which form about 10 per cent of all farmers in the country,” it said.

“On the whole, this Budget has shown the government does not care about the welfare of farmers despite the ‘jumla’ (rhetoric) of adding ‘Farmers Welfare’ to the name of its Ministry. It is as if the government, smarting under its defeat on the three anti-farmer laws, is out to take revenge on the farmer community,” the SKM said.

“The SKM denounces this anti-farmer budget and calls upon the farmers of the country to prepare for another massive struggle for the minimum support price and other burning issues,” the statement urged.

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