Chandigarh, Sep 22 (PTI) Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday said the hike in the MSP for six Rabi crops announced by the Centre is meagre compared to what farmers got during the Congress-led UPA government.
Hooda, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, said while the costs of inputs like petrol, diesel, transport, seeds, fertilisers, besides sowing, harvesting, and irrigation have gone up substantially, the hike was meagre.
The Congress leader claimed the percentage of increase in MSP has been “falling continuously during the BJP led government”.
“During the UPA government, the rate of paddy was hiked by 14 to 15 per cent every year and the total increase was Rs 800.
“On the other hand, the MSP increase rate in the current government has come down to just 6 per cent annually and most farmers did not even get that,” Hooda said in a statement here.
The former chief minister said the rate of wheat increased by 127 per cent or 13 per cent per year on an average during the previous UPA government.
He said the government should understand the ground reality and work to remove the farmers’ hardship “instead of blowing their trumpet even for a meagre increase”.
The central government on Monday hiked the minimum support price for buying six Rabi crops, including wheat, by up to six per cent, as it sought to send a strong message to farmers on the continuation of the MSP-based procurement system.
The MSP of wheat, the biggest crop of the Rabi season, was hiked by Rs 50 to Rs 1,975 per quintal, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said in Lok Sabha.
Besides, MSPs of lentil (masoor), gram, barley, safflower and mustard and rapeseed have been increased.
Hooda, meanwhile, reiterated that the agricultural trade reforms bill of the Centre were “anti-farmer”.
“The three agri bills are anti-farmers. The government should bring in a fourth bill with a legal provision that makes it mandatory for all procurement, even if it happens outside the mandis, to be made at MSP and there should be a provision for penal action if anyone purchases below minimum support price,” Hooda demanded.
In Haryana, he claimed the prices of paddy, millet, maize, moong and cotton have crashed and there is no support from the government.
Hooda alleged “the “farmers are being looted as they are forced to sell at whatever price private agencies are offering”.
“The government, which claims to give MSP to the farmers in the mandis and makes a promise to purchase every grain produced by the farmer, should go to the mandis and see the condition for themselves.
“Many mandis of the state are filled with paddy but the government is not buying it. Despite the MSP of Rs 1,850 per quintal, the farmer is forced to sell paddy for Rs 1,000-1,200,” the senior Congress leader claimed in a statement here.
He said the current situation is an indicator of what the condition of the farmer would be after the new laws come into force on the ground and big private players will dictate terms.
“Even today these private agencies are taking advantage of the helplessness of the farmers and buying their crops at a much lower rate than the MSP,” he alleged.
“When the government will weaken the mandis and give private players a free hand, it can only be imagined how they will exploit the farmer,” he said. PTI SUN VSD RAX RAX