New Delhi: Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh today faced some tough moments in Rajya Sabha when opposition members sought to corner him with pointed questions on farmers’ issues, with SP members staging a walkout apparently dissatisfied with his reply. Opposition members, cutting across party lines, sought to grill the Minister with direct questions on farmers’ issues, which he did not answer directly and instead said that the Modi government had initiated a host of schemes and programmes aimed at doubling the farmer’s income, reducing input costs, increasing produce and improved remuneration.
JD-U member Pavan Varma asked why the government was going back on its promise of giving MSP to farmers at 50 per cent over their input costs and added that “government had reneged on its promise”. “The question is benefit of farmers in terms of better price recovery. In this context, government had made a promise of giving 50 per cent more MSP than input costs. Why has the government gone back on its promise and given an affidavit in the court against fulfilling this,” Varma asked.
In reply, the Minister said, “my government stands with its commitment that farmers should get 1.5 times their input costs. You see the manifesto. We have started schemes in this regard. Efforts to increase farmers income have started.” SP member Naresh Agrawal asked why were states getting only one-third of what they were asking for to tackle natural calamities. The Minister said ever since Modi government has come to power, there has been 2.5 times increase in grants to states as sought by them. Agrawal alleged that the Minister was “an expert in twisting facts” and was not giving a straight reply to his question. He expressed dissatisfaction with the reply and announced that he and his SP colleagues were staging a walkout and left the House.