Interim Budget 2019: Farmer leaders criticise PM Kisan Samman Nidhi

Say it adds insult to the injury of farmers

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 04 February 2019

Farmers and farm activists from nine states across the country who had gathered in Shikohpur village in Haryana to watch and respond to the Union Budget, have dismissed the government’s declaration of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi as ‘adding insult to farmers’ injury’.

While claiming that it is a major step towards doubling farmers’ income and that the farmers will not need to go to moneylenders, the Budget speech announced Rs 6,000 per year per family. “In comparison, the Rythu Bandhu scheme of the Telangana government provides Rs10,000 per acre of support, which means that a 5-acre farmer would get Rs 50,000 per year, giving at least partial support towards cultivation cost. It is a joke to declare that the meagre Rs 6,000 per year will save farmers from the moneylenders, when a typical small farmer requires an investment of at least Rs 1 lakh in cost of cultivation," said Kirankumar Vissa from Rythu Swarajya Vedika, Telangana.  

“The government’s real intention is clear from the decision to begin this scheme retrospectively and to pass on the first installment within this financial year. Clearly, this is a desperate measure to buy farmers’ votes, by transferring Rs.2,000 to their accounts before the election. It is a double insult to the farmers that the government expects to get the farmers’ votes so cheap. Farmers will surely reject this dishonourable bargain," Yogendra Yadav, president of Swaraj India, said. 

The leaders said Prime Minister Modi’s announcement also suffered from additional infirmities, since the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi excluded farmers above five acres even in rain-fed areas, landless cultivators, tenant farmers, and the millions of farmers who do not have land pattas, including Adivasi farmers. It was also not clear how the scheme will be implemented in such a short time period in the absence of any data base of all the farmers. 

They added that the announcement on interest subvention was of minor significance because it applied only to loans which were rescheduled during calamities. With most natural calamities not even being declared by the government and poor implementation of loan rescheduling, this benefit would hardly go to 1 per cent of the farmers. “Piyush Goyal declared that the government will do anything for protection and promotion of the cow and set up a Commission for the same. But what is he doing to protect those farmers who protect the cows? He did not even acknowledge the huge problem of stray cattle that have become the scourge of the farmers in villages across India, due to the irrational policies on cattle trade and the havoc by ‘gaurakshaks’," said Avik Saha of Jai Kisan Andolan. 

Yogesh Pandey of Swabhiani Shetkari Sangathana expressed deep disappointment that the problem of mounting dues of sugarcane farmers, in excess of Rs 11,000 crores, did not merit even a mention in the Union Minister of Finance’s speech.

Farmers and farm activists from nine states — Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Uttarakhand — had assembled at the meeting. Farmer organisations represented at the meet included Swaraj India, Jai Kisan Andolan, Rythu Swarajya Vedika, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatan, Terai Kisan Sangathan and Bharatiya Kisan Union (Benipal). 

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