Rahul unveils Cong vision: kisan budget, law to prevent farmers

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Balasore (Odisha), Apr 26 (PTI) Congress President Rahul Gandhi Friday accused BJP of betraying farmers and unveiled his party’s future vision for cultivators for whom it would introduce a separate “kisan budget” besides enacting a law to save farmers from being jailed for failure to repay farm loans.
Mounting a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gandhi said if the BJP-led government can waive huge debts of industrialists, why should the distressed farmers be punished?.
“A new law will be brought if Congress is voted to power. It will ensure that no farmer is sent to jail for being unable to repay agriculture loan,” Gandhi said at an election rally in this coastal Odisha town.
Similarly, a separate budget for the farm sector and the farming community will be introduced which will be presented before the general budget, the Congress chief said, describing the proposed ‘kisan budget’ as ‘historic’.
“We will introduce a special kisan budget which will give a detailed account of the income and debt position of each farmer and accordingly provision will be made for their benefit,” he said.
Coming down heavily on Modi for failing to fulfil the promises made to farmers five years ago, Gandhi said the kisan budget will specify the amount of farm loans to be waived and Minimum Support Price (MSP) for food grains a year in advance.
Places where cold storages and food processing units are to be set up will also be shared a year in advance to ensure proper execution of projects,” he said.
Asserting that Congress never makes false promises like the BJP did, Gandhi said his party has proved this after forming governments in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh where farm loans were waived and farmers were given remunerative prices for their produce.
Similarly, MSP for paddy will be hiked to Rs 2500 per quintal in Odisha if the party comes to power in the state, the Congress President said.
Assembly election in Odisha is also being held along with Lok Sabha polls.
Hitting out at Modi for skipping in his election speeches issues such as unemployment, farmers distress, price rise and corruption which he raked up before 2014 polls, Gandhi said the prime minister is aware that “speaking about his past promise of depositing Rs 15 lakh each to people’s bank accounts will simply boomerang now”.
Modi is shying away from raising issues of farmers and unemployment as the peasants and youth are angry with the BJP-led government for its failure to hike MSP for food grains and create two crore jobs per year, Gandhi said.
However, Congress has identified unemployment, farmer worries, price rise and corruption as major challenges and will take concrete steps to tackle them, he said.
In a stinging attack on Modi, the Congress chief said 22 lakh government jobs are lying vacant despite BJP’s promise to create two crore jobs annually.
“I give you a guarantee that all the 22 lakh posts will be filled within one year if Congress forms government.
In addition, 10 lakh youths will be employed in panchayats,” he said.
Noting that Congress is not promising to give everybody Rs 15 lakh, Gandhi said Rs 72,000 will be deposited in the bank account of the woman member of each of the five crore poor families per year under the ‘NYAY’ scheme, which will effectively benefit 25 crore people in the country.
Gandhi said poor states like Odisha and Bihar will benefit immensely from NYAY scheme under which every month Rs 6000 will be given to the poor family whose monthly income is less than Rs 12,000.
The Congress chief reiterated his assertions at a rally in Samastipur in Bihar during the day to dispel the fear that the middle class and salaried people will be burdened and made it clear that not a single paisa will be taken from their pockets to fund the NYAY minimum income guarantee scheme.
Taking a swipe at the Prime Minister, Gandhi said Modi has done a good thing by opening bank accounts, but he sends money to Anil Ambani.
Describing the proposed NYAY scheme as a ‘surgical strike’ on poverty, Gandhi said demonetization and ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ (GST) destroyed crores of jobs and backbone of the people damaging the economy instead of bringing “achhe din” which the BJP had promised.
Stating that the fallout of demonetization and GST was disastrous, Gandhi said it reduced purchasing power of people who stopped buying and, as a result manufacturing sector was it and factories were shut. A large number of youths lost jobs following closure of factories, he claimed adding the country is facing the worst unemployment problem in 45 years.
However, Congress is determined to set the economy right, he said adding “we will ensure that the engine of growth is re-started with adequate fuel. Crores of youth will get employment after Congress comes to power.”
Affirming Congress commitment to saguarding rights of tribals, Gandhi said Modi government tread to snatch away tribal rights over land but his party stalled the move. “We will ensure that the rights of tribals and indigenous people over jal, nungle and jameen are well protected and remain intact,” the Congress chief asserted.
Gandhi also hit out at the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD Government accusing it of having failed to mitigate the plight of farmers and create adequate jobs for unemployed youths despite being in power for 19 years.

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