Bhupinder Singh Hooda meets farmer organizations before Congress Chintan Shivir
Former Haryana chief minister and opposition leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda met the officials from the farmer organizations before the Congress’s Chintan Shivir scheduled to be held at Udaipur in Rajasthan. Hooda is the convener of the committee on agriculture that will prepare the proposal to be discussed at the Shivir. He held the meeting to seek the farmers’ opinion. During the meeting, farmers discussed a host of issues, including reducing the agricultural costs and a legal guarantee on MSP.
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has held discussions with farmers from various states in the run-up to the Congress’s Chintan Shivir (brainstorming session). He met the officials from the farmer organizations before the Shivir scheduled to be held at Udaipur in Rajasthan. Farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka participated in the meeting. Hooda is the convener of the committee on agriculture that will prepare the proposal to be discussed at the Shivir. He held the meeting to seek the farmers’ opinion. During the meeting, farmers discussed a host of issues, including reducing the agricultural costs and a legal guarantee on MSP. Congress’ Chintan Shivir is scheduled to be held from May 13 to 15.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Hooda said, “Everyone agreed that farming should be made profitable by giving farmers the MSP under the C2 formula of the Swaminathan Commission.” Besides, Hooda said, the farmers emphasized the demand for a legal guarantee for MSP. They said that the decision regarding the import and export of agricultural products should be made only after taking the farmers’ interests into consideration. Such a mechanism should be established that all aspects are examined before taking a decision in this regard.
Besides giving suggestions regarding the increasing burden of debt on the farmers, farmer leaders emphasized the need for reforming the crop insurance scheme. Also, they demanded exemption from pollution-related norms in the case of essential agricultural implements, including tractors, for the farmers. They said that agricultural implements should not be kept in the same category as that of other commercial vehicles.
According to Hooda, the chief ministers’ committee constituted under his leadership in 2009 had also recommended this.
Hooda said, “Mere announcement by the government is not enough; a law should also be passed to guarantee that all farmers get the MSP.” The farmers also spoke about the problems arising in getting subsidies and compensation. Reducing the burden of increasing debts on the farmers was also considered. The impact of the export-import policy on farming was also discussed.
Welcoming the initiative of the Congress, Bharatiya Kisan Union national spokesperson and farmer leader Rakesh Tikait said, “It is necessary for both the Opposition and the ruling party to discuss the issues faced by farmers.” Farmer leader Yudhvir Singh said, “The recommendations submitted by Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s committee to the government in 2009 need to be implemented. Along with fixation of the MSP, the methodology of computing cost of production also needs to be improved.”
Farmer leaders registered their protest against the Electricity Bill brought by the Centre. They demanded that farmers be kept off this Bill. Otherwise, they said, electricity would become too expensive for them, precipitating an increase in the cost of farming. Besides, they spoke about the necessity of a policy initiative to compensate the farmers against the loss arising from the adverse impact of climate change on agriculture.