‘Kisan Akrosh Pradarshan’
Thousands of youth activists held 'KISAN AKROSH PRADARSHAN'
at Chandigarh on Ist October, 2002, protesting against the annihilation of interests of farming sector by BJP led - Lok Dal and Akali Dal (Badal) supported - NDA Government in not increasing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Paddy and other Kharif crops. After holding the rally led by IYC President, Sh. Randeep Singh Surjewala, youth activists marched to the Raj Bhawans of the two States of Punjab and Haryana. In a patently undemocratic show of police might, Chandigarh Police stopped the youth volunteers and arrested all of them.
Demanding withdrawal of support by Akali Dal (Badal) and Lok Dal from BJP led-NDA Government at the Centre and resignation of Chautala Government in Haryana as well as resignation of Akali Dal's Union Minister, S. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa for being privy to political and economic victimization of farming community, Sh. Randeep Singh Surjewala, IYC President demanded that:
- A revised Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs.700/- per quintal for ordinary variety and Rs.720/- per quintal for fine variety of Paddy should be immediately announced. In addition, Rs.100/- per quintal should be the 'Compensatory Drought Relief Package' for Paddy and other Kharif crops.
- Government of India should forthwith withdraw its decision dated 20th September 2002, of granting Minimum Support Price (MSP) plus 4% purchase tax only in place of universally accepted practice of granting MSP plus 11.5% taxes in the past. This reduction of 7.5% tantamounts to decreasing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Paddy by Rs.40/- per quintal, thereby completely wiping away the pittance of Drought Relief Bonus of Rs.20/- per quintal announced on 30th September 2002 by Government of India. Break-up of 7.5% Purchase tax (11.5% - 4% = 7.5%) is: (a) 2% Market Fee, (b) 2% Rural Development Fee, (c) 1.5% Infrastructure Development Tax and (d) 2% Ahartiya Commission. We pointed out that this reduction would cause the death-knell for the development of rural areas of Punjab and Haryana.
- Government of India cannot shun its responsibility of granting an independent 'Drought Relief Package' promised on the floor of Parliament by Prime Minister and by the 'Special Task Force' so constituted by substituting the same with grant of 'Compensatory Drought Relief Bonus' of Rs.20/- per quintal, which is hopelessly inadequate and criminally deficient.
National loss to all drought effected States as per claim made by them exceeds Rs.20000 crores and cannot be wished away by granting a bonus of Rs.20/- per quintal.
We also pointed out that this anti-farmer stance of NDA Government threatens to undo the very concept of 'Green Revolution' and 'Food Security' in the country.