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Swaraj Abhiyan to present ‘Kisan Budget’ on Feb 1

Press Trust of India

New Delhi | 30 Jan 2017

Swaraj Abhiyan has demanded that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announce a series of steps to revive the agriculture sector and compensate the farmers who have faced loses due to demonetisation. The organization, led by Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, will also present a “budget” for farmers at ‘Kisan Sansad’ on February 1, the day when the Narendra Modi government presents its fourth budget in Parliament.

16426195_1876014839301531_4564745750669755408_nYadav demanded an increase in budget allocation for agriculture, especially to promote organic farming, and formation of a National Disaster Mitigation Fund to deal with the problem of drought. “Just like labourers get a minimum income prescribed by the law, there should be a similar legislation to ensure minimum income to farmers. There should also be Remunerative and Universal Price Yield Assurance (RUPYA).

“A National Farmers Income Commission should be formed for assessment of farm households,” Yadav suggested.

He also demanded compensation for losses from demonetisation and increase in allocation for agriculture sector. “A National Disaster Mitigation Fund is the need of the hour as farmers are facing erratic weather, leading to enormous losses. There should also be higher allocation for irrigation with special focus on rain-fed areas,” Yadav said.

He also demanded setting up of Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs). “All the incentives being provided under Startup India mission should be extended to FPOs, including tax exemptions, provision of capital and infrastructure,” he said.

Avik Saha, convenor of Jai Kisan Andolan, the farmers wing of Swaraj Abhiyan, demanded opening up of centres in every village that can buy off grains from farmers and ensure them a Minium Support Price.  Saha said although the country received good rains this year, states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, parts of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are reeling under drought.

“After two back-to-back droughts in 2014 and 2015 and failure of 3-4 successive crops in many regions, the good monsoon in 2016 summer raised expectations with reports of bumper crop during Kharif, increased sowing during Rabi and substantial increase in pulse production, which the country needed so badly,” Saha said.

Swaraj India, a party led by Yogendra Yadav, is the political arm of Swaraj Abhiyan. Swaraj Abhiyan had also filed a PIL in the Supreme Court last year, demanding relief to drought hit farmers.