PM Modi and FM Sitharaman Neglected Farmers, Labourers in Economic Package: Congress

The Congress on Friday accused the government of being "insensitive" towards farmers and demanded that the prime minister and the finance minister apologise for neglecting them in the COVID-19 economic package.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the so-called Rs 20-lakh crore package for offsetting the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a "jumla package" and reflects the "voodoo economics" being followed by the prime minister and the finance minister.

He said the government has not put a single penny in pocket of farmers or farm labourers through the package and claimed that farmers have lost over Rs 50,000 crore this Rabi season.

"One thing is absolutely clear that the so-called Rs 20-lakh crore economic package has proved to be a jumla package. It reflects the 'voodoo' economics being followed by the prime minister and the finance minister," Surjewala said at a press conference through video-conferencing.

He said the prime minister and the finance minister only talk big things and indulge in headline management, but have done nothing concrete for farmers or any other section of society.

Surjewala said the farmers have lost Rs 21,000 crore by distress sale of wheat far below the minimum support price (MSP) and an equal amount through other crops like chana, sarson and masoor, while anoher Rs 10,000 crore was lost through distress sale of vegetables and fruits.

He claimed that since the markets were shut and farmers have to sell at distress prices as the government was buying only 26.5 per cent of the Rabi crop at MSP.

"Neither farmers nor farm labourers will benefit from these jumla announcements of the finance minister. Today, farmers and farm workers are frustrated and disappointed," he said.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday gave details of the third tranche of the Centre's economic package, announcing relief for agriculture and allied industries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week announced a cumulative package of Rs 20 lakh crore (nearly 10 per cent of GDP) to provide relief to various segments of the economy battered by coronavirus lockdown.