Farmers' advocacy group demands Rs 2 lakh crore debt relief package

Farmers' advocacy group demands Rs 2 lakh crore debt relief package

Farmers' advocacy group demands Rs 2 lakh crore debt relief package

A farmers' advocacy group on Tuesday demanded a debt relief package of Rs 2 lakh crore and a substantial hike in allocation for irrigation projects, two days before Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents the Union Budget for 2017-18.

Swaraj Abhiyan, a group helmed by psephologist-activist Yogendra Yadav, also asked the Modi government to implement farm sector schemes with sincerity and listed 12 instances where it had "failed" to do so.

Unveiling a 'Green Paper on Farmers, Farming and Rural Economy' at a press conference here, Yadav also pitched for a significant increase in the minimum support price for all the 23 crops and demanded introduction of more crop varieties into the MSP system.

Kiran Vissa of Rythu Swarajya Vedika and Avik Saha of Jai Kisan Andolan also  addressed the press conference.

Yogendra Yadav noted that the Economic Survey had predicted a 25% decline in farmers' incomes on account of climate change and wanted the government to increase allocations to irrigation schemes under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana and schemes promoting traditional farming methods.

Yadav accused the Modi government of "going out of the way to harm the farmers" by "scrapping" the practice of giving bonus on MSP, putting the onus of drought relief solely on state governments, choking payments to rural jobs scheme MGNREGA, regulating livestock trade and introducing a minimum export price on potato.

Referring to the Economic Survey released on Monday, Yadav said it was a candid document that admitted that farmers' income had remained stagnant and the ryots were forced to sell their produce below the minimum support price.

Yadav also demanded income tax rebates for farmer producer organisations on the lines of those provided to entrepreneurs under the StartUp India mission.

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