On Friday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held her third press conference in as many days and her third tranche of the COVID-19 economic package dealt with agriculture, dairy and allied activities. However, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala called the Finance Minister's announcements as "jumla". He said that neither the farmer nor the farm labourers will benefit from the announcements. "Today, farmers and farm workers are frustrated and disappointed," he added.
"During the COVID-19 epidemic, farmers and labourers are facing the most difficulty. Instead of giving them relief the Modi govt. is hurting the farmers and labourers and instead of providing help, it is pushing the farmer in the debt trap," Surjewala said.
The Congress leader said that the Modi Government neither understands the pain of the farmer nor the problem of farming. "Therefore, the farmers have not been extended any help, even worth a single penny," he added.
Surjewala claimed that the Finance Minister on July 1, 2019 said in the Lok Sabha that loans of ₹6,26,087 crore have been provided to small farmers in the year 2018-19. "During the Corona crisis, it is unfair to reduce the loans from ₹6.26 lakh crore to ₹ 4 lakh crore," he said.
Earlier in the day, Sitharaman announced Rs 1 lakh crore to support agriculture infrastructure projects at farm-gate and aggregation points.
Also, she announced Rs 10,000 crores to help Micro Food Enterprises get the technical upgradation necessary to attain FSSAI food standards and build brands.
An Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund of Rs. 15,000 crore will be set up, and Rs 500 crores has been allotted for a scheme to support beekeeping initiatives, she said among other initiatives.