THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor MP on Monday assailed the BJP-NDA Government’s Budget dubbing it as mere propaganda. Inaugurating a discussion on the ‘Impact of Union and state budgets on farmers’ organised under the aegis of the Kerala Karshaka Congress - a feeder organisation of the Congress- here, Tharoor called for mounting pressure on the Centre to fix the Minimum Support Price (MSP) on crops based on the comprehensive cost of production.
Though the Centre had offered to raise the MSP on certain crops by 150 per cent, it should be on the basis of the actual production cost of the farmers.“ If the MSP hike is based on the actual production cost it will not help the farmers. Even fixing the MSP on actual ‘paid out cost plus family labour ‘ will not be enough. Instead, the government should take care of the comprehensive cost which will also factor in the cost of the land as recommended by the M S Swaminathan Committee report,” he said.
According to the Thiruvananthapuram MP, despite the Centre’s massive propaganda about its pro-farmer initiatives, the peasants had not received anything yet. He said while the crops insurance announced by the Modi Government had helped the insurance companies to rake in Rs 23,000 crore as premium, the farmers received only Rs 4,000 crore worth insurance claim. Tharoor said the farmers of cash crops in Kerala will not reap the benefits of the MSP.
Former Planning Board member C P John sarcastically said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget speech was better compared to the one delivered by T M Thomas Isaac since the former had allocated more ‘space’ for agriculture in his speech compared to the just 10 paragraphs given in the state budget. JP state spokesman M S Kumar said the BJP- NDA Government did not believe in writing off the farmer loans as it wanted to bolster the sector by pumping in more money and to strengthen the farmers through various other measures. Karshaka Congress state president Lal Varghese Kalpakavadi presided. M S Anil welcomed the gathering.