NEW DELHI: Congress member Uttam Kumar Reddy on Tuesday accused the government of paying "lip service" to the cause of farmers and said GST on fertilisers and agriculture machinery should either be reduced to zero or brought in the lowest slab.
Initiating the debate on demands for grants of the ministries of Rural Development and Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in the Lok Sabha, he said the government has a goal of doubling farmers income by 2022 but it should state how much their income has risen in the past three years.
Reddy said Goods and Services Tax on tractors and agricultural machinery has increased the input cost of farmers. As he was making his demand for bringing down GST, BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab, who was in the chair, lauded it and asked why the GST rate should not be zero.
Reddy said fertilisers, tractors and machines "should be exempted from GST or brought in the lowest slab".
He said the BJP-led government had promised in 2016 to double farmers' income by 2022. "Three years have passed. Has the government prepared any report in three years," he asked.
Reddy said that farmers income can be doubled only with a high agriculture growth rate. "Growth in agriculture income in the first four years of government is almost zero," he said.
The MP said the government has also not fully implemented its promise of giving MSP to farmers at 50 per cent above the input cost.
Reddy said that Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana has been "a failure" and the progress in converting rural markets to agriculture markets has been slow.