The Lok Sabha on Thursday took up discussions on various questions, including farmer suicides, The Hindu reported. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said bank notices issued to farmers for non-payment of loans had worsened the agrarian distress. He also claimed that no concrete steps were taken by the government in the Union Budget to relieve farmers’ debts.

“There is a terrible situation of farmers in the country,” the MP from Wayanad in Kerala said during Zero Hour. “I urge the prime minister to ameliorate the problems of farmers in the country.” He spoke of the problems faced by problems faced by farmers in his constituency.

In response, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said farmer suicides were a product of the failed policies of the governments that had come before the Narendra Modi administration. Singh said the government increased the minimum support price for crops and implemented the Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. He said an internal report showed that farm incomes had increased 20% to 25% during the BJP government’s rule.

Chidambaram criticises Budget

Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram criticised the Budget during a discussion in the Rajya Sabha. He said the growth rate projected for the 2019-’20 financial year was different in the Economic Survey and the Union Budget. Chidambaram said there was no “unified picture” on the growth rate from the government.

The Congress leader also criticised the unemployment situation in the country, ANI reported. He lashed out at the government over the political crisis in Karnataka. “I wish I was speaking under happier circumstances,” Chidambaram said. “I am not unhappy only because India lost cricket match yesterday, I am very unhappy that democracy is suffering a blow every day.”

He said that developments in Karnataka and Goa might appear to be political upmanship but “it has very damaging effect on economy”. He pointed out that foreign investors, rating agencies, international organisations follow Indian politics.