Highlights of the Pamphlet on Agriculture
What is the reality behind the tall claims being made by the Congress leadership on UPA policies on Agriculture?
1.Claims of “High Growth” rate of 10% while growth rate in agriculture is only around 2.4%. The situation is so bad that the quarter ending in December 2008 shows negative growth of -2.2% of Agricultural GDP for the Rabi season.
2.In the first 4 years of the UPA regime 69064 farmers have committed suicide i.e., one farmer committed suicide every 30 minutes.
3.The Congress claims that under the Loan Waiver Scheme 36 million farm households benefited. This does not even account for 50% of the total indebted.
4.The UPA Government refused to implement crucial proposals of the M.S.Swaminathan led National Commission of Farmers to reduce the interest rates to 4% and for the universalisation of the Crop Insurance Scheme under National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS).
5.The rhetoric on increasing Public Investment in Agriculture is not matched by outlays. The Prime Minister announced an additional budgetary support of Rs.25,000 crore for agriculture under the Eleventh Five-Year Plan, which implies additional funds of only approximately only Rs.10 crore per year for the 600 odd districts in the country over the next five years.
6.Concerted efforts by the Congress-led Government to dilute and subvert the NREGA were prevented by the CPI (M) and the Left Parties. But for our efforts the Government proposals would have made NREGA useless.
7.Against the interests of farmers the UPA Government has struck a deal with global agribusinesses and has gone for the Indo-US Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture Research and Education which has Monsanto and Wal-Mart representatives as its Board members.
8.Farmers are not getting Remunerative Prices for their produce. Not a single Support Price meets the cost of cultivation. All crops are being cultivated at a loss to the cultivators varying from 38% at the minimum to 50% at the maximum. The exception is sugarcane where the loss is minimized at 12%.
9.UPA tried to pass the Land Acquisition Act Amendment Bill and the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill on the last day of the Parliament clandestinely. This would undermine the State and people’s right to determine land use policies, the right to fair compensation, resettlement and rehabilitation. It was spirited opposition by the CPI (M) and other Left Parties that stalled the passage of the Bill.
10.Jobs in Agriculture are decreasing sharply. According to the Economic Survey farm work was available merely for 57 days in a year in this decade. According to latest NSSO surveys, 80.6 crores live on a per capita expenditure of Rs. 20 per day, of whom 23.9 crore live on a per capita expenditure of only Rs 9 per day. Most of them are agricultural labourers.
The full text of the pamphlet can be accessed at: