Everything has been built on a foundation that has been provided to us by the farmer: Rahul Gandhi
Sir, thank you for allowing me to speak on this issue.
The farmer is India’s backbone. Whatever we have constructed; whatever we have built; whatever has been achieved in this country whether it is IT or defence, etc. all these structures sit on top of a foundation. Everything has been built on a foundation that has been provided to us by the farmer. The farmer gave us the Green Revolution, and the Green Revolution happened because the farmer was given abundant credit and because the farmer was provided with the idea of MSP so that he could sell his crops. Anyway, Sir, I am sorry to say that on the matter of MSP and on the matter of agricultural credit, our Government, the Acche Din Government that is their name and not my name, so I take their permission to use it has failed the country.
I would like to point out a little bit about the MSP and agricultural credit. Congress Vice President Shri Rahul Gandhi participating in discussion under rule 193 on agrarian situation in the country In UPA Government’s time, agricultural credit grew by 700 per cent. It went up to Rs. 8 lakh crore and 6.5 crore farmers benefited from this. Our average increase in credit was an average 20 per cent every year. I am sad to say that the current Government has only given an increase of 5 per cent. When you compare MSP, the current Government has allowed it to stagnate. Minimum Support Price is the heart of agriculture. Our record is available with everyone. I would like to take your permission to repeat our record. In wheat, we raised the MSP from Rs. 640 to Rs. 1400 per quintal. In rice, we raised the MSP from Rs. 560 to Rs. 1310 per quintal. In sugarcane, we raised the MSP from Rs. 73 to Rs. 220 per quintal. But what has the current regime done over the last year? The MSP of wheat has been raised by Rs. 50; the MSP of sugarcane has been raised by Rs. 10; and the MSP of cotton has been raised by Rs. 50. As if that was not enough, our farmers are struggling with various problems.
What is the result of this? You talk about defending the country and you talk about strengthening the country. What is the result of this? During our time, agriculture grew at 4.1 per cent. In the previous NDA Government, the ‘India Shining’ Government, the record of agricultural growth rate was 2.6 per cent every year. Your Prime Minister, during the campaign, spoke to the farmers and said that he would look after them. The MSP is where it was; the rate of agricultural credit has not improved, and agricultural growth rate is one per cent. How can you talk about strengthening this country, if this is the state of the foundation of the country, who is the farmer? How are you going to do that? Someone from an NGO came to me two days ago, before our rally. He said that he had gone to meet Mr. Gadkari. First, I would like to praise Mr. Gadkari, who is not here. I would like to praise him because he is the one Minister here who speaks his heart and tells the truth. Therefore, I would like to praise him. He said that the farmer should not trust either the God or the Government. He truly said the right thing because he said what is in his heart. He said what was in his heart and mind. As if that was not enough, agricultural growth rate is stagnating; farmer does not get credit; MSP is where it was, and the weather lets the farmer down. Hailstorms came, rains fell and the damage was done to the farmers. First of all I would like to give a suggestion to your Prime Minister. Want to give small suggestion.
Firstly, an expert said, the biggest agriculture expert of India said that the damage has been done on 180 lakh hectares. Damage has been done in 14 States. The loss is to the true of Rs. 40 thousand crores. Thereafter, your expert says that the loss has happened in 180 lakh hectares and the Prime Minister of the country says no, what the experts say, is wrong, this damage has been done on 106 lakh hectares. Then the Agriculture Ministry says no, what the prime is saying is wrong, 80 lakh hectare is affected. So, you first of all tell me whether the experts are right, the Prime Minister is right or the Agriculture Ministry is saying the truth? Are, all the three speaking correct. This is the style of the BJP. Speak something here, speak something different there, then speak altogether different there, then say that all the three are speaking of same thing. Damage has been done with the farmers. I would like to give you a suggestion. There is a confusion being created as some are saying that it is 106 lakh hectares, some are saying that it is 80 lakh hectares, some are saying that it is 80 lakh hectares. I want to give a suggestion to the Prime Minister that why does he not make a personal visit and see for himself. Why does he not go there where people have pain in their heart, where they are having problems and talk to them personally. The wheat is lying in the mandis, government is not procuring it. Farmers want to buy fertilizers, you are not giving them the fertilizer but lathis are being used to make them run away.
Sir, one thing is very clear that your government is ignoring the problems of the farmers and is not hearing the voice of the labourers. Your government is the government of the industrialists, all know this fact, you also know that, we also know that. It is the government of big people. Hear me. Your government is of big people, is the government of suit-boot, which we understand. Now, that glamour of suit has passed away as it has been auctioned therefore we would not like to speak about it, happy! This is a fact and you also know it that is why you are speaking so loudly that you are neglecting the farmers and the farm labourers. Now, the question arises about your Prime Minister. Yes, correct, he is the Prime Minister of the country, but he is also yours. Do you want to say that he is not yours? Did I say wrongly that he is not yours? At least, he is of the country, is he not yours? Then why are you silencing me. Ok, he is not your Prime Minister, he is the Prime Minister of the country.
He understands the political calculations, he has won the election. One question is coming in my mind, and that I want to ask the people of our country, I want to ask you. Sixty percent people of the country depend on agriculture. The farmer of the country, is a labourer. Sixty seven percent people depend on farming, you know better than me. That your Prime Minister, the Prime Minister of the country, he understands the political calculations very well then why is he annoying these 67 percent people? If he is a pragmatic person then why is he annoying those people? I was thinking about it that what could be the reason behind this? Swaminathan ji said, if it is in English then I would like to quote in English. Future will belong to nations with grains, not guns. There is talk of defence, talk of missiles, there is a talk of fighter planes, but you are forgetting 60 percent people. When I asked myself as to why is this happening? I got just one reply that the land price of the Indian farmers was increasing rapidly and your corporate friends want to have that land. On the one side you are weaking the farmers and the labourers and when he will not be able to stand on his feet then you would use the axe of your ordinance. That is why you are ignoring 60 percent people.
I would like to give one more suggestion to the Prime Minister. He is the Prime Minister of the country. Their government is of the big people, but there are 60 percent farmers and labourers in the country. They will have political gain, if they change sides. The promises that you have made to your corporate, if you break those promises the loss will be to us. You are making a big mistake. I am telling you that you are making a big mistake, you are hurting the farmers and the labourers. But they will hurt you in the coming time, because the biggest strength in this country belongs to the farmers and the labourers. You think that those who drive big-big cars, those who are big businessmen, I do not want to name them, you feel that the strength of this country is in their hands. This is wrong, the strength of the country is in the hands of the farmers, in the hands of the labourers. With this, I would like to conclude my intervention.