New Delhi: In his maiden intervention in the current Lok Sabha, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday raised the issue of farmer suicide accusing the Central government of ignoring the interests of farmers, particularly from Kerala.
However, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hit back saying the past governments of Congress had ignored the interests of farmers.
“Farmers are suffering throughout the country. I would like to draw the attention of the government to the terrible plight of farmers in Kerala. It hurts me to inform this house that just yesterday a farmer in Wayanad committed suicide due to his crushing debt.
“In Wayanad alone bank notices for non-payment of loans have been given to almost 8,000 farmers. They are facing the threat of immediate eviction. Their properties are attached against the bank loan which is resulting in a spate of farmer’s suicide”, said Gandhi, who represents Wayanad, said raising the matter during the zero hours.
He also claimed that as many as 18 farmers have committed suicide in Kerala since the bank began recovery procedure one and a half year ago.
“The government of Kerala has announced a moratorium on repayment of farm loans on for all Kerala farmers till December 31, 2019. Whereas the government of India is refusing to direct RBI to consider this moratorium and get it implemented”, he said.
Rahul also accused the government of waiving the dues of ‘rich businessman’ while offering no relief to ‘poor farmers’.
Continuing his attack against Centre in Parliament, Rahul said, “Meanwhile in the last five years, the BJP government gave 4.3 lakh crores in tax concession and waived 5.5 lakh crores to a rich businessman. Why does this shameful double standard? Why does the government act as if our farmers are inferior to rich? I was sad to see that no concrete step was taken in this budget to provide relief to farmers.”
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh replied to claims of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and blamed long Congress rule at the Centre for the grim situation of farmers.
“The situation of farmers hasn’t worsened in just last few years but those who have been in government for the longest time are responsible for this situation. However, I can affirm that Minimum Support Price which Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government offered in the last five years has never been done before in independent India,” the Deputy Leader of the House said.
He also hailed the PM-Kisan scheme and asserted that has substantially increased the income of farmers.
“Under PM-Kisan scheme all farmers are being given six thousand rupees. According to a report, the scheme has led to an increase of 20-25 per cent of farmer income. We still have to do a lot for the farmers”, said Singh.