Monday, March 4, 2013

Budget only a sop to hide the real problem: Krishibhumi

Budget only a sop to hide the real problem: Krishibhumi

   March 1, 2013: Union finance minister P Chidambaram’s Budget 2013-14 has been hailed by experts as an austere one with lots of promises fot the agricultural sector. But farm activists believe that the financial stimulus will push the real problem of the Indian farmers to the backseat.

The suicide of Indian farmers due to agrarian crisis has been completely overlooked in the Union Budget. Activists from the suicide belt of Vidarbha have criticised the 2013 Union Budget for ignoring interests of the drought-hit and debt-trapped farmers across the country. Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) leader Kishor Tiwari said hopes that the budget would address farm debt, Minimum Support Price (MSP) and a transition to sustainable agriculture practices from the ‘green revolution’, has been dashed.

Earlier in the CAG report it was revealed that in 2008 the big loans meant for farmers did not reach them. Kishor Tiwari said that in its last budget before the general election Millions of farmers were looking for a special bailout package providing them some relief.

A hike of 22% in the allocation for agriculture will not provide any solution for the reeling economy of Goa. As mining is deteriorating in the state, activists believed that the centre would concentrate on agriculture. But according to N P Singh, Director, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Old Goa, “there is no sop for farmers in Goa. This will accelerate the problems of farmers.”

Farmers of Tamil Nadu slammed the Union Budget and said serious issues threatening their livelihood had been ignored. Satyanarayanan, General Secretary of the Consortium of Cauvery Delta Farmers, said, “increase in loan disbursal would push farmers into a debt cycle unless input and other costs were brought down.”

To some activists income growth for farmers remained an untouched area in the Budget. According to Sudhir Panwar, president of Kisan Jagriti Manch, Uttar pradesh,"Both the draft 12th Five Year Plan and the Economic Survey have pointed towards a stagnant farmers' income on account of rising input costs and 8% hike in labour cost.”

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