Why has a government that proposed one nation-one tax brought in laws which creates one nation-two mandis- Deepender
Team Haryana First
New Delhi: Congress MP Deepender Hooda sought immediate resumption of dialogue with the farmers and provide special package to families of farmers who sacrificed their lives during the 80-day long farm struggle. Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, Deepender said accepting the demands of the farmers would not be a defeat for the government as people’s will is supreme in a democracy.
Deepender, who was speaking on Union Budget, said building trust with farmers is critical. “The Prime Minister himself believes that the movement is pure, then the government should accept the demands raised by this pure movement,” he said.
“It was the government that walked away from the discussions during the 11th round of talks and therefore, the onus of restarting talks lies with the government. The stature of the government will not be reduced if it accepts the will of its people,” he said.
Raising the voice of farmers’ during the discussion on the Union Budget 2021-22 in the Rajya Sabha, Deepender said this budget should have been dedicated to the farmer as they sweated tirelessly in their fields and provided food to the citizens of the country and did not let anyone die of hunger. “They saved the economy when the entire country had come to a standstill, but the government reduced the agricultural budget by 8.5 percent,” he said.
He said a time when the farmer was battling the global pandemic and providing food to the country even at the risk of his own life, the government brought the three black anti-farmer laws to break the backs of the farmers.
He challenged the government claims that the MSP would continue and said while there is no doubt that MSP would continue, the question before the country is what percentage of farmers in the country would benefit. “If the government is committed to MSP for all farmers, why does it not provide legal guarantee. The farmers of the country have lost faith in this government because of failed promises and this is why he is asking for written legal guarantee,” he said.
Deepender indicated that the monthly incomes of farmers in Haryana and Punjab were upto three times higher than farmers of UP and Bihar. “The focus of the policy should have been on bringing farmers in UP and Bihar to the levels of Haryana and Punjab, not bring down earnings in Haryana and Punjab to the levels of UP and Bihar,” he said and added that the government should learn from what has worked in two states and implement them at a national level.
Launching a sharp attack on the government, Deepender asked if the government has been shouting slogans of one country-one constitution, one country-one emblem, one country-one election then why is the government pushing the agenda of two markets? “Who has prevented a private buyer from buying in the mandis. If the government is saying that there will be a higher price in the private market outside, then what is the problem in making a law that makes buying less than MSP illegal. Such a legal provision was implemented at the time of the Hooda government in Haryana APMC,” he added.
Deepender also answered repeated questions raised by the Agriculture Minister on what is wrong with the farm laws and said the government will know that all the three laws are black and anti-farmer if it looks at the three laws from the perspective of the farmers, and not the rich, large businesses. “The government is looking at them from the perspective of profitability of big businessmen, while for the farmer, it is a question of life and death. For the farmer, it is the question of basic survival,” he stated.
Describing in detail the recommendations of the Hooda Committee, Deepender said the committee talked about improvement in APMC and setting up a farm Mandi is every 10 kilometers. Secondly, when private traders buy from the market, you either buy at MSP or face legal action. “The central recommendation was the MSP should be calculated on the basis of C2 prices. It suggested that fruits, vegetable and other crops should also be brought under MSP and that the interest rate for crop loans should be reduced to 0 percent,” he said.
Giving the example of the USA, Deepender Hooda said uncontrolled play of market forces is not a remedy for all ills. “When this happened in America, the small farmer could not stand before the big corporate. America’s policy of ‘Get Big and Get Out’ cannot run in India. Where will the farmer here go if he is forced to ‘Get Out’ of agriculture,” he questioned.
“If the government says agri-trade has to be freed from middlemen, then the government should tell which category will the big corporate houses like Tata, Birla, Adani, Ambani, Purti fall in? Will they fall under the category of farmer, consumer or middleman. If private companies will take up farming on contract land, what will happen to the crores of small and landless farmers who cultivate the land on contract basis.
Attacking the Union Government on its failures on the economic front, the Congress leader said there has been a big difference between what the government had promised and what it has delivered during the nearly 7-year tenure of the BJP government. He said this budget is an extension of the government’s double speak.
“The government talks of self-reliant India but has reduced the budget for skill development, it talks about doubling the income of farmers but has reduced the budget of agriculture budget by 8.5 percent. The government talks about nationalism but has reduced the budget of pension to the jawans, the government talking about ‘New India’ but reduced the budget for scientific research. The government talks about making India world’s knowledge leader but has reduced the budget of education, it talked about the being sensitive towards differently abled but reduced the budget of for their welfare, it talked about Sabha Saath, Sabka Vikas but reduced the budget of minority welfare,” he pointed out.
Exposing the failures of the government’s big slogans and promises, Deepender said the government promised to provide 2 crore jobs every year or 14 crore jobs in seven years, but unemployment reached its highest levels during this government. He said not only have the prices of Diesel-petrol have hit record highs in the last 70 years, taxes on petroleum products are also at the highest levels ever. “The Rupee has not been this low in 70 years, bank NPAs have not been this high in the last 70 years and the gap between the rich and the poor has not been this big in the last 70 years. In the Corona period alone, the wealth of the 11 richest people has increased by 13 lakh crores,” he pointed out.