Farmers demand loan waiver, better MSP

Farmers from across the country staged a protest here on Monday to press for their demands for a complete farm loan waiver and remunerative prices for their produce.

At the 'Kisan Mukti Sansad' (Farmers' Parliament) here, representatives from 184 ryot organisations from across the country passed two "bills" for granting a one-time loan waiver and fixing the minimum support price (MSP) after adding 50% profit to production cost.

The Kisan Mukti Sansad was organised by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) that had carried out farmers' marches in 19 states to highlight the agrarian distress.

Lok Sabha member Raju Shetti of Swabhimani Paksha, who recently quit the BJP-led NDA, and Rajya Sabha member K K Ragesh of the CPM have decided to present the "bills" passed at the meeting here as "private member's bills" in Parliament during the winter session.

The farmers took out a protest march from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street, where the Kisan Mukti Sansad took place.

Shetti hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for reneging on his election promise of fixing MSP at 1.5 times the cost of production - the formula suggested by agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan in the Farmers' Commission report.

"We will also seek the support of other political parties to ensure that these private member's bills are passed in Parliament," said Ashok Dhawale, leader of the All India Kisan Sabha, a constituent of AIKSCC.

Besides Shetti, the meeting was addressed by Hannan Mollah of the All Inda Kisan Sabha, Kisan Mazdoor Sabha president B Venkat Ramaiah, Karnataka State Ryot Sangh president K Chandrashekhar, Kisan Sangharsh Samithi leader Sunilam and Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan of Swaraj Abhiyan.

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