Ahead of the Congress ‘Chintan Shivir’ to be held next week in Udaipur, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda met with agricultural leaders on Saturday and had a detailed discussion with them on issues of agriculture and the peasantry.
Hooda, who is also the organizer of the party committee on agriculture, met with agricultural leaders from different states and discussed various issues affecting them.
The Congress brainstorming sessions are to be held in Udaipur, Rajasthan, from May 13-15. Farm leaders attended the meeting at Hooda’s residence in Delhi and briefed him on the challenges facing the farming community and offered their suggestions on how to address them, a Congress statement said here.
Hooda later said that agricultural leaders from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, UP and Uttarakhand, in addition to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka attended the meeting. Those who attended the meeting at Hooda’s residence in Delhi included Rakesh Tikait, Yudhveer Singh, Manju Kiran, Ishaan, Ratanman, Ladi Sokhda, Vijay Shastri, Sagar Manwal, Arjun Chaudhary, Ankur Chaudhary, Ravindra Dhama, Jaibir Hooda, Arun Lather, among others, the statement said.
Hooda assured the farmer leaders that the suggestions and issues raised by them would be included in the party agenda for the next Chintan Shivir. He said everyone agreed that the biggest goal was to make farming profitable by granting MSP to farmers under the Swaminathan Commission’s C2 formula. “We have always advocated awarding MSP under formula C2 (50% profit on cost of inputs) as suggested by the Swaminathan Commission. It was also recommended by the Committee of Chief Ministers formed under my chairmanship in 2009 (under the UPA government). ”Many of the recommendations made by the committee were implemented by the then UPA government. For example, the interest rate on short-term loans has been reduced to 4% nationwide. Not only that, the then Congress government in Haryana reduced it to zero,” he said. Hooda, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in Haryana Assembly, said that mere announcement of the minimum support price by the government is not enough, a law should be passed to guarantee it to ensure that all farmers get the MSP. Suggestions were also made at the meeting to reduce the cost of agricultural inputs, he said.
”Farm leaders also spoke about the problems faced by farmers in obtaining subsidies and compensation. They also discussed the issue of the increasing debt burden of farmers and the challenge of irrigation, in addition to the impact of the national import and export policy on farmers,” says Congressional statement.
“Farm leaders have said exim policy should be determined with farmers’ interests in mind,” he added.
Farmers’ leader Rakesh Tikait said there is a need for the opposition and the ruling party to discuss the farmers’ issues.
Farmer leader Yudhveer Singh said the recommendations of the Bhupinder Singh Hooda committee to the government in 2009 should be implemented. While fixing the MSP, the methodology for calculating the cost of production also needs to be improved.
The Congress party had announced last month that the “Chintan Shivir”, a three-day brainstorming session from May 13-15, would be held in Udaipur.
About 400 senior party leaders are expected at the camp. Senior leaders including those of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), Members of Parliament, State Officials, Secretaries General and State Presidents will also attend the Chintan Shivir.
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