Thursday, 1 December, 2022
HomeIndiaCongress slams wheat export ban, bats for MSP at Chintan Shivir

Congress slams wheat export ban, bats for MSP at Chintan Shivir

The Congress party’s agricultural panel at Udaipur's Chintan Shivir as well as former Union Minister P Chidambaram, critises the Modi government's move ban wheat exports

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New Delhi: The Congress party’s agriculture panel led by former Haryana CM Bhupinder Hooda at its mega brainstorming session ‘Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir‘ in Udaipur has slammed the central government’s decision to ban wheat exports. The panel on Saturday also made a strong case for enacting a law guaranteeing minimum support price (MSP) for all crops and said its aim is to ensure that farmers are “debt-free”.

“On 8 March, the government asked the farmers to capitalise on the opportunity and export wheat. On 16 March, the government said they were not looking to curb wheat exports. On 13 April, Modi said that India can feed the world. Then on 14 May, the center banned the export of wheat”, said Punjab Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa at a press conference which he addressed with Hooda.

“Export of wheat should be dependent on the tariff. Farmers should be allowed to export at a time when they are getting higher tariffs for the produce”, said Hooda.

Earlier in the day, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram called the government’s ban on wheat export anti-farmer. “I presume that it is because the central government had failed to procure enough wheat. It’s not that wheat production has come down. It is more or less the same, in fact, it might be marginally more. This is an anti-farmer measure. It prevents farmers from reaping the benefits of higher export prices”, said the former finance minister.

The party also made a strong case for a legal guarantee of MSP, a demand made by farmers during a mass agitation that started in 2020. The stir concluded when the Modi government, in November 2021, repealed the three farm laws that it had introduced the previous year.

“There is a consensus (within the panel) that MSP should become a legal guarantee under the recommendations of the Swaminathan formula and it should be extended to all agricultural produce”, said Hooda.

Besides MSP, the panel of farmers and agriculturists led by Hooda said that the party will also recommend the formation of a National Farmers’ Debt Relief Commission, to address farmers’ indebtedness.

Also read: Congress ‘reaching consensus’ on 5-yr term for posts, ‘1 family 1 ticket’. Gandhis a grey area

From Green Revolution to evergreen revolution

Talking about the deliberations taking place within the panel, which will be adopted by the Congress CWC tomorrow, if passed, Hooda said that agriculture should be “seen as an industry”, just like banking.

He added that after the Congress-led Green Revolution, there should now be an “Evergreen Revolution”.

Making a pitch to legalise MSP, Hooda said that there should be universal procurement under MSP and that farmers should be guaranteed this legally under the Swaminathan formula.

“If MSP is extended to all agricultural produce, it will help farmers diversify their crops by offsetting losses”, said Hooda. He added that criminal cases should not be slapped on farmers when they default on loans.

Senior Congress leader from Chhattisgarh, TS Singh Deo, who is also part of the panel said that he had made a presentation on a possible minimum income guarantee scheme for farmers at the discussions of the panel. The presentation, Singh Deo said, was based on the NYAY scheme launched by the Congress party before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking about the Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh government, Deo said that the Union government wanted to pay less per kg for paddy and hence did not procure all the paddy that had been bought by the state government.

“The state government paid Rs 2,500 per quintal, but the Union government wanted to pay Rs 1,960 only so they have not taken all the paddy that was procured. They said that any state giving a financial incentive over and above the MSP will be considered outside the state pool”, said Deo.

The party also made a pitch for farm labour to be included under the MNREGA and for the PM Fasal Beema Yoja to cover crop loss due to climate change.

(Edited by: Manoj Ramachandran)

Also read: 30 years after liberalisation, Congress calls for economic reset at ‘Chintan Shivir’


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