Manmeet Singh Gill
Amritsar, February 2
Accusing the Central Government of ignoring the agriculture sector in the Union Budget, farmers associated with Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
KMSC general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher said protests were held at 40 places in 13 districts of the state. “The Union Budget has reduced the allocation for the agriculture sector which is a clear indication that the government is giving a step-motherly treatment to the farming community,” he said.
Pandher added that in the Budget, the government has increased allocation for loans for the farming sector for which the farmers have to pledge their land to the banks. “It means that the government is ready to give loans with an interest which would further push the farmers into a debt trap but is not ready to lift the economic status of the farmers. The fixation of prices as per Swaminathan Commission report is the only way to give what the farming sector deserves but instead with the lure of the debt trap they would be forced to sell their lands,” said Pandher.
The KMSC general secretary said the government has also reduced the budget allocation for MGNREGA which would affect the landless and rural workers. “The reduction in budget allocation means that they would get lesser work days and it would affect their livelihood.”
Pandher added that increasing the limit for rebate from filing income tax if they do not earn more than Rs 7 lakh a year would only benefit a section of society. “It would not give any benefit to the farming sector as 95 per cent of the farmers own less than 5 acres of land. Hypothetically, even if they earn Rs 1 lakh per acre they are already not liable to pay taxes. Same is the scenario with maximum population working in private sector,” he added.