New Delhi, Feb 5 (IANS) Former union minister and MP from Bathinda Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Monday said the central government has failed to double farmers’ income, increase employment and control inflation.
Speaking after the President’s speech in the Lok Sabha, Badal said, “Though the President had emphasized that improving the lot of farmers, poor and youth was the focus of the Union government, the same has not been supported by data”.
Stating that the data was to the contrary, the Bathinda MP said that though the Union government had promised to double farmers’ income by 2022, that promise remained elusive.
“According to data from the National Statistics Office (NSO), the average income of farm households increased from Rs 8,000 per month in 2015 to just Rs 10,000 per month in 2019.”
The Shiromani Akali Dal leader said in stark contrast that NSO data revealed that the average debt of farmers had increased by 58 percent in the same period.
“Up to 10,880 farmers also committed suicide in 2021 according to the Center for Science and Environment,” he added.
Stating that farmers were more indebted in Punjab and small farmers in the state were incurring a debt of Rs 3 lakh per farmer, he said farmers’ problems were also not being addressed.
“Despite the central government’s clear commitment to form a sub-committee to make minimum support price (MSP) a legal right of farmers, the same was not done,” the former Union minister said.
He said that though there was an 80% increase in agricultural inputs, the increase in MSP was only increased by 30%. He said there was a 26 percent decline in Kisan Samman Nidhi beneficiaries in Punjab, which contributed the most to the national food kitty.
Similarly, he said that though crop insurance companies had earned Rs 57,000 crore, the farmers of Punjab had not received any compensation for successive crop losses even though its Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had promised to release compensation for crop losses even before the ‘girdawari’ was conducted. .
Talking about the menace of drugs in the country, Badal said the situation was precarious in Punjab with Pakistani drones flying drugs in the state.
“A demographic disaster is happening, but the central government is yet to come up with a concrete policy to stop the entry of drugs into Punjab from across the border,” he added.