As the Congress continues to criticise the centre’s pro-farmers measures, including an annual income support of Rs 6,000 for small farmers announced today in the Interim Budget, Union Minister Piyush Goyal defended the scheme saying “naamdaars will never understand how it will benefit farmers”.
“Farmers will get Rs 6,000 every year, not just for a year. This scheme will bring a huge change in their lives. The rich and the naamdaars won’t understand this. Those who have been living off their families can never understand this,” the Union minister, who presented the last budget of the BJP-led government today, said.
Piyush Goyal said farm returns had reduced because of the declining prices of agriculture commodities in the international markets and a fall in food inflation in India in the last two years relative to the non-food sector.
The farmer scheme, called PM-Kisan or ”Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi”, aims at benefitting small and marginal farmers, who own less than five acres of land. Each one of them will receive direct annual handouts of around Rs. 6,000 in three instalments, at a cost of Rs 75,000 crore to the government, Mr Goyal said in the Lok Sabha.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described PM Kisan Nidhi as a “historic step” for farmer welfare. “The budget will empower the poor, give a boost to the farmer and an impetus to the economic growth,” he said.
However, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said Rs 6,000 in a year works out to Rs 17 a day, which is “an insult” to farmers.
In a tweet addressed to “NoMo”, Mr Gandhi said, “Five years of your incompetence and arrogance has destroyed the lives of our farmers.”
At an opposition meet in the national capital today, the Congress chief reiterated that “you can give thousands of crores to your friends, but you give the poor farmer Rs 17 a day!”
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said, “Rs 6000 in income support for farmers boils down to Rs 500 per month. Is that supposed to enable them to live with the honour and dignity?”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, too, didn’t seem impressed with the government’s dole for farmers and tweeted: