KCR writes to Modi on faulty agricultural policies of Centre

By Special Correspondent

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing dismay that contrary to the Centre’s policy of doubling farmers’ income, the input costs of agriculture had doubled in the last five years and the income of farmers declined causing them distress.

He recalled that it was in February 2016 that the Centre had announced it will double the farmers’ income in six years by 2022 but after five years, no specific or structured programme had been initiated in that direction.

Mr. Rao brought to Mr. Modi’s notice that the Centre had turned a blind eye to the increasing prices of fertilizers in the last six years while encouraging States to take up campaigns to reduce Urea and Di-Ammonium Phosphate consumption. It was sad to note that the prices of two most consumed fertilizers 28.28.0 and Muriate of Potash had increased by more than 50% and 100% respectively in the last 90 days itself.

The Centre instead of bearing the increasing import costs of raw materials and maintaining the prices of fertilizers at an affordable level, chose to pass on the burden to farmers. The fuel consumption in agriculture sector had increased manifold due to promotion of farm mechanisation. Even in the case of petrol and diesel prices, indiscriminate imposition of cess across the board despite no increase in import price of crude oil had added great distress to farmers.

The farmers bore the brunt due to faulty policies of the Centre in both petrol and diesel pricing and fertilizer pricing. These steps caused anxiety to farmers as the seven decade old fertilizer subsidy regime under the purview of Centre was modified against their interests.

The Centre had also not responded to the resolution passed by Telangana Assembly seeking integration of the National Rural Employment Guarantee programme with agriculture so that the cost of labour was partially borne by governments along with farmers.

Mr. Rao also said that the claim of the Centre that the minimum support price was pegged at 150% of costs of crop was misleading. Apart from announcing MSP and procuring small quantities of crop, the Centre had no reliable mechanism of ensuring price guarantee to farmers for their produce. Farmers were denied MSP and compelled to sell at lower prices, thereby making agriculture non-remunerative.

By raising fertilizer prices, increasing fuel prices and faulty fixation of MSP prices, the Centre was not only contributing to increase the cost of cultivation but defaulted on the promise of doubling farmers’ income. These policies coupled with the threat of proposed reforms in agriculture electricity distribution sector by fixing power consumption meters caused great deal of anxiety to farmers.

Therefore, Mr. Rao requested the Centre to ensure that the cost of fertilizers were maintained at present level and additional cost, if any, be absorbed by the Centre.

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