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Jairam Ramesh lists major "failures" of BJP govt policies on agriculture

Ramesh also pointed out that the Narendra Modi government by allowing cheap imports makes exports of agricultural products more difficult for famers.

Jairam Ramesh lists major failures of BJP govt policies on agriculture

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh

NEW DELHI: Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh listed out some major failures of the BJP government's policies on agriculture which he described as "most harmful" and "self-evident".

"Of all the various failures of the Modi Government, the sheer incompetence and maliciousness of the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is among the most harmful and self-evident," the senior Congress leader said in a post on 'X'.

Describing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to be "extortionate", Ramesh said that the exorbitant GST rates pose a burden for farmers as it increases the rate of agriculture inputs like tractors and fertilizers.

"The design of the GST has been completely anti-farmer. Due to GST, nearly every input a farmer requires has gone up in price...under GST, the tax rate on tractors has been increased to 12%, while GST on tractor tyres is at 18% and spare parts at 28%. Meanwhile, fertilizer has been taxed at 5% under GST, in addition to high GST on fertilizer inputs like ammonia, at 18%...," the Congress leader said.

Ramesh also pointed out that the Narendra Modi government by allowing cheap imports makes exports of agricultural products more difficult for famers.

"This hurts India's farmers deeply - they are not only not getting fair market prices for their produce, but unpredictable export bans mean they cannot plan their crops properly," he said.

The senior Congress leader also pointed out that over Rs 1 lakh crore allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has been "surrendered" after non-utilisation.

Ramesh also debunked Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise to "double farmers' income" between 2016 and 2022, saying that to achieve this target, farmer incomes would have to grow by over 12 per cent each year for all six years.

" per the latest NSSO SAS report, real farm income grew just 2.8% per year from 2015-16 to 2018-19," the Congress General Secretary pointed out.

Pointing out the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government's inadequate increases of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farmers and non-implementation of Swaminathan Commission Report, Ramesh said, "While the UPA raised MSP in wheat by 119% and paddy by 134%, the Modi Government has raised it by just 47% and 50% respectively."

On PM Modi's failed attempts at crop diversification, Ramesh said that the farm area under paddy has increased by two million hectares since 2014 and the farm area under millets has decreased by three million hectares since 2014.

Highlighting the country's dependence on imports for edible oils, the senior Congress leader said that though more than 56 per cent of edible oils come from imports, since 2014, the production of oilseeds has grown at just 1.8 per cent per year.

Elaborating on the rising indebtedness of farmers and farmer suicides, Ramesh said, "First, farmer debt has skyrocketed. Since 2013, outstanding loans have grown by 58%, as per the NSSO. Over half of our farmers are in debt. Second, since 2014, we have seen over 1 lakh farmers die by suicide."

Speaking about the Kisaan Nyay guarantees announced by the Congress, Ramesh said that his party promises legal guarantee of MSP at Swaminathan formula, standing Loan waiver Commission for farmers, guaranteed insurance payment within 30 days of crop loss, stable import-export policy to benefit farmers and no GST on inputs for farming.

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