Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday compared the government’s decision to increase the minimum support price for kharif crops to “applying a band-aid to a massive haemorrhage”.
“[Prime Minister’s] grand MSP increase is budgeted at just Rs 15,000 [crore] for India’s 120 million farmers; which is like applying a Band-Aid to a massive haemorrhage,” Gandhi tweeted.
Gandhi said the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka had announced a Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver for farmers. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy made the announcement on Thursday while presenting the first budget of the newly-formed coalition government.
“Marketing Vs Action,” he said.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday raised the minimum support price for paddy by Rs 200 per quintal, nearly 12% higher than last year. This is the steepest hike in minimum support prices for paddy since 2012-’13, when it was raised by 15.7%. The Bharatiya Janata Party had promised before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections that it would give farmers prices 1.5 times their cost of production.
The announcement comes ahead of Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan later this year, and the General Elections in 2019.
MSPs have been hiked by a big margin in the years preceding the previous two General Elections as well – 40% in 2009 and 27% in 2013.