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kgg/2k/2.30

The House re-assembled after lunch at thirty minutes past

two of the clock, MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN in the Chair.

~~~

 

SHORT DURATION DISCUSSION ON

IMPORT OF WHEAT AND AGRARIAN DISTRESS

 

SHRI TAPAN KUMAR SEN (WEST BENGAL): Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I would like to initiate the discussion on the issue of agrarian distress and also wheat import. I would like to state that our agrarian population in the country and agriculture have already been in the midst of severe distress. And, the import of wheat currently undertaken by the Government and the whole approach behind such import drive is going to multiply that distress further. Agriculture and our rural economy are in the midst of a severe distress is quite visible from all indicators, and the crisis is not just a recent phenomenon. In fact, in reality, the crisis has been a terminal one since one and a half decade with little prospect of improvement given the policy framework pursued by successive Governments on the agricultural economy.

In fact, the agricultural growth rates have been dwindling since the last one and a half decade with occasional upward spurt, which is more a low denominator effect than a real upswing. Last three years, as per the Economic Survey ending 2004-05, the index of agricultural production and the foodgrains production have really dipped and this is an absolute decline.

Agricultural growth has been a mere 0.7 per cent in 2004-05. On the whole, the average annual growth rate of value-added agriculture has declined sharply from 4.7 per cent in the Eighth Plan to a mere 2.1 per cent in the Ninth Plan, and for the Tenth Plan, the target is kept at 4 per cent, which also, given the present indicators, has become very difficult to achieve. Investment in agriculture, as a percentage of GDP, has declined consistently from 2.2 per cent in 1999-2000 to merely 1.7 per cent in 2004-05. This sharp decline in the investment, as a percentage of GDP, reflects unconcerned approach of successive Governments of the Centre to this tragic situation in our rural economy. The impact on the people is naturally bound to be worse, particularly those working in agriculture.

The single revealing indicator is a sharp reduction in the per capita food availability which has reached a low level, which happened just after the time we got our Independence--around hardly 150 Kgs. per head. Some of the developmental economist of a particular eulogy, sometimes, project this declining in the per capita food availability as an indicator of development in a most ridiculous manner. I think, there can be no more cruel joke to the people committing suicide out of starvation because of crisis in the rural economy. Yes, Sir, the suicides now have become a single revealing indicator of all other indicators of the state of our rural people and, particularly, agriculture.

As per the official estimate, during 2001-06, 8,900 people committed suicide and as per the real estimate, I think, since 1997 onwards, more than 25,000 committed suicide and suicide is not only restricted to the four States. Even the most agriculturally rich Punjab has also started being affected by this serious phenomenon of suicides.

How to address this problem? But, again, the most alarming point is that those who will be addressing, those who are in the seats of Government, are taking a different stand. (Contd. by 2l)

KLS/2L-2.35

SHRI TAPAN KUMAR SEN (CONTD): I would like to cite a report of the Government of Karnataka on the districts analysing the reasons of the farmers' suicide in five districts of that State and that report titled 'Farmer Suicide - A Scientific Analysis' concluded that suicides are more for a psychological reason than an economic one. The same report has also published a survey of 105 cases of suicides and out of that 93 persons were mostly indebted from the loans taken from the private moneylenders. But still the suicides are projected as a psychological case and not an economic one. I think this reflects the bent of mind; this reflects the policy approach, a reluctance to change the policy approach, which is at the root of the present agrarian distress. This recent import is also an indication that still so many suicides are yet to sensitise the persons in authority to take a serious remedial step to address the most distressing problem of the major part of our populace. Sir, Instead of going into the statistics, I would particularly like to point out, on the agrarian situation, the basic issues are required to be addressed. The problem lies in the policy and the kind of land holding pattern in our country at this moment again signals a trend. The more and more the concentration more and more people are losing lands. And about 60 per cent of the cultivable land in our country is in the hands of hardly 15 per cent of the farm households, totally a different pattern that is pauperising rural population in a big way. The entire crisis of the agriculture is being passed on to the landless agriculturists particularly small and medium farmers making the situation grave and again increasing the spate of suicides. Then there are questions on the policy regarding agricultural trade, the policy regarding agricultural inputs and regular increase in the cost of agricultural inputs. In the name of liberalisation our agricultural market is thrown open to the imports. All these are simultaneously compounding the problem. Our agricultural production cost is increasing. The price is collapsing because of the opening up of our economy and in between again by these policies middlemen, in the name of private traders, between the consumers and the producers are created, who are affecting both the consumers, they have to pay high prices, and the producers who are not getting the benefit of that higher price. This kind of a peculiar situation is created where only a handful of people, very negligible minority of the entire populace are being benefited and both the consumers and producers are affected. I think, Sir, you should look into the present aspect of wheat import in this context. The wheat import that has been undertaken after six years is preceded by a consistent four years of export of wheat, export of wheat at a price sometimes below the BPL price which was available to our BPL families. In 2002-03 and 2003-04, we consistently exported. When we export we get low price even sometimes below what even our below poverty level people are not getting through the Public Distribution System. The stocks of wheat are gradually dwindling down. That reflects the Government's policy to drastically slash down the agricultural subsidy and also gradually shying away from procurement with a reasonable remunerative price to the producers. All these are reflected. The subsidy reduction may be a compulsion to the Government because of the international pressure. But this is taking place and this is adding to the distress of the country. In this background when the import of wheat is being decided, stated to be for addressing the severe rise in the market price, the objective looks laudable. (Contd by 2M)

-KLS-SSS/2M/2.40

SHRI TAPAN KUMAR SEN (CONTD.): But really it is altogether different. When this import is reaching our country in April, when the fresh wheat comes to the market, supplies are plenty, who is going to benefit out of that? We are importing at a price and we are offering a Minimum Support Price with bonus to our farmers, there is a big difference in it. Who gains out of it? The country loses by paying a higher price. The producer loses because he gets a price, by which he cannot manage even his cost of production. In our agriculture economy, a serious situation is created in different parts of the country. The peasants sometimes are feeling that let land remain as it is, what is the fun of cultivation, paying money from our own pocket? This kind of a serious distortion is taking place in our agrarian economy and it is in this context that wheat import has to be looked into. I would like to draw the attention of the House, through you, Sir, that when we say the wheat import has been resorted to manage the crisis on account of rising prices in the market. But, unfortunately, the US Agricultural Department Report says that in the coming years the wheat import to India is going to be around one million tonnes. We have imported five lakh tonnes right now. It is yet to be one million tonnes. But in November 2005, the report of the US Agricultural Department, an official report, they projected that it is going to be increased to one million tonnes. Wheat import is going to take place to India from outside. What does this indicate? We are facing so many multi-lateral agencies. We are facing so much pressure to open our economy. If somebody concludes that this exercise is a part of the overall negotiations and pressure and counter-pressure being put on our country from those multi-lateral bodies and if somebody concludes that this import exercise is a part of offering pleasantry to the power that be and for the sake of friendship with whom we are very much concerned, wouldn't that be very wrong? This is part of that. I think, the procedure, the manner in which this whole wheat import is taking place is not in the interest of our country. It is not in the interest of the producer. I think, instead of going on that path we will request the Government to sincerely reconsider. I think, the distortion that is taking place in the Indian economy is more important than radical land reforms and change in the land holding pattern in the country by active initiative of the Government, the improvement of the loan facilities with low rate of interest. It is unfortunate, Sir, the big corporate houses are still managing to get loan from the public sector financial institutions. Around 6 to 7 per cent, they can negotiate the loan. But, it is really the country's farmers who are getting loan sometimes by paying 12 per cent, 13 per cent, 14 per cent and the same fate is also there for the small and medium scale producers. Those who need the most, are deprived the most. If this anomalous economic policy to favour a few and deprive the most is there which I feel is the basic lifeline of this new liberal policy paradigm. If that is not addressed, that is not reversed, I think, if agricultural economy is allowed to remain in such a terminal distress, if suicides are allowed to continue, I do not think the urban economy can be insulated from its disastrous impact and it will affect the country's economy, as a whole. So, when India and we all are dreaming to emerge as a very big power in the days to come, if we continue to pursue the same policy, same distortions, sometimes because of the internal ideological problem and sometimes because of the international pressure, if you continue to pursue the same policy, I do not think, our dream will come true. I think, for that approach that thing should be looked into and a serious exercise is required to reverse many of our policy exercises which are now being experimented on the Indian economy, putting the whole people, the majority of the people in dire distress. Thank you. (Ends)

(FOLLOWED BY NBR/2N)

ASC-NBR/2.45/2N

ָ֕ ״ (ָ Ϥ) : ֳ֯ן , ֤ ֵ֟ ֮ ָ֮ ӲӬ ֓ ֻ , ֯ ֓ ָ Ϭ֮ Ӿ ֮ ֣״ ָ֬ ָ ֮ ֮և ֟ ׮֟ ֟, ו ָ ֕ ָ ֮ ֟ ׻֋ ֲ֕ օ ֻ ־ , þ֟ӡ֟ ֮ ߾֮ ֮֯ ־ã þ֓ , ָ ݵ ֤֕ ֮ ֤ ֻ֟ ֛ ֮ߵ և ָ ָ ׾ֳו֟ ו֮ ־׬ ״ , ֛ ֮ ִ ָ ִ ֮ ֟ ߴӟ ֮ ֣ ָ ״߮ ֮ ִ ֟ ֤֕ ֮ ֟ ֤֕ ֮ ך ָ ָ ֵ ׾ֳו֟ Ӆ ֕ ו֮֟ ֮֋ ֮, ָ֤֟ ֛ ֮ ֳ׾֟ ִ֬ ֮ ֳ׮֟ ״߮ ֮ , ֤֕ ֮ , ֛ ϟכ ֕ ֛ ֟ ׻֋ ֲ֕ ֮ ׬ ֤ , ו ָ ֮ ׻֋ ֮ ־ã ֲ֕ ָ - ãן ׮ٴ֟ ֟ ֻ ֲ֤֤ וֻ ֙ ֙ , ו ָ ֮֯ ִָ֓ ֡ ֜ ֮ ֯ ׻֋, ،֙ ֮ ֟ פօ ͅ ֮ ־ã Ӿ ֤֕ , ֲ֕ ָ ֮ ֟ ֮ ֛օ ֻ֟ ׮ٴ֟ ֲ֕ ֟ ״߮ ֮ ߴӟ ֮ ֛ ׾ד֡ ãן ֮־ָ, ָ Ӿ ָ ָ ֤ ֮֬ ֤ ֕ ֟ ֻ֟ ֛ ֲָ Ԡ ֟ ָ ֟֋ ֮ פ ָ֤֟ ִ ־ã , ָ ָָ ֮ ֕ , ֙ 7 ֤ פ , ָ֤֟ , , ֤ ָ ָ ֵ פ ֵ ָ - ֮ ָ ֤ ָ ָ ֤ 韵 ™ߵ ִ ־ ֮ ׸ , ָ 48 ֤ ֮ ָ Ӭ 82 ֤ 82 ֤ ֻ Ӭ Ϥ , ״ֻ֛֮ 74.5 ֤ , ӕֲ 65.4 ֤ ֬ Ϥ 50 ֤ ־ Ϥ ֮ ֤ ֟ ָ ֛ ϟכ Ӯ ־ ׸ ֟և ֮֮ߵ ӡ ָ ֟֋, ֮ ִ ָ֬ ָ ֮ ׿ֿ ֟ ׻֋ ֲ֕ ( ֿ: 2oָ)

NB/2O/2.50

ָ֕ ״ (֟) : ֮ ֮֮ߵ ӡ ־ֻ ָ פ օ ֮ ־ֻ 2005-06 ֮ ֮ ָ և ֟ֆ ? ָ ֵ֟ 2004-05 1,068 ֟֋ ֻ Ӭ Ϥ , ԙ 124 ֟֋ , ָ™ 142 ֟֋ , ӕֲ ֵ֟ ֟ ֙ , ֲ ӕֲ ֟֋ , 21 ֟֋ , 5 ֟֋ , ָ֟ ֟ ֻܵ ӳ־֮ ӡ ו ִ֬ , ִ֬ ֮ ִ֣ ֵ , ֤ , ֟ ֙֋ ֤ ֙ וֲֵ֤ , ֯ ֟ ֟ ֮ ִ߮ և, Ͽ֮ ָ ׬ ֵ ֻ 75 ֋ ߙ ֲ ־֕ פ ֵ, ֲ 5,000 ֋ ߙ ־֕ ֲ ִ߮ և, ֮ shock ָ ֵօ ֱ ֮ , ֙ ָ ֵօ ֮ ִ߮ , ֮ ִ߮ , ֤ ״ֻ , ָ߲ , ׻֋ ״ֻ , ֕ ָ ֵօ ָ ָ , ֟ ,

֮־ָ, ֮ ֲ , ֻ֟ ֛ ֲָ NDA ̴֮ ֮ Ӿ ָ ֮ ֮, ־ã ׿ֿ ߅ ׻֋ ֵ ߴ , ֻ ߴ , ֮ ׮֟ ׿ֿ ߅ ֮ ׿ֿ ֮-֤֕ ך , ך ֤֕ Ϥ֮ , ׻֋ ֮ ߴ ׿ֿ , ָָ ָ ؓ֟ ֕ ָ ؓ֟ ... (־֮֬)

ֳ֯ן , ִõֆ Ԯ ֮ , ֻ ָ ߵ֟ , ֣״ , ָ ִ֮ ֣״֋ ? ָ ִ֮ ֣״, Ӿ ָ߲ ֮ , 75 ֤ ֳ ָ߲ Ӿ , ָ ָ ֣״ Ӿ ָ߲ ֮ , ׮ֵ֮ ׮ֵ֮ ָ֬ ָ ؓ֟ NDA ֲ ׻֋ ִ֮֬ Ϥ֮ פ, NDA פ ֲ֤ß ֵ֜ ֲ ׿ֿ , ׻֋ ׿ֿ ߅

ֳ֯ן , ִֵ ãן և ִ ֜ , ֙ ִ ֜ ָߤ ֲ ֜ 2005 և- ߮ ֲ ִ և, ӡ ־ã ָ ֮և ׿ֿ ׿ֿ ֛ ز֤ ߅ ׮ , ֳֻ , ֛֛ , ױ TPDS ֣ ֮ֆ ӟԟ ֣™ ֡ ָ , և ֜ 2P/AKG ָ ֿ:

AKG/2P/2.55

ָ֕ ״ (֟) : ָ ָ֕ ײ ֮ ִ֬ ָ ٟ֯ ׳־ר ꅠ ֳ ֵԯ Ù ׮׿֟ ꅠ ׻֋ ָָ ןֵ֟ ָ 5 ֵ֟ ꅠ ֵ֟ ֟ ևԅ ִ֬ ׮ֵӡ פ ֮֮ߵ ӡ ָ ϵ֟ , ϟ פև ֛ ֵ֟ ֟ և , ֲֻ֟ פ ֮־ָ, ֤ ֮֮ߵ ӡ ֤ ָ ֮ ־ֲ , ־ֻ ־ֲ ֻ 7.4 פ ӳ־֮ ׯ֔ ָ ֵԯ ֡ פ , ָߤ ו ָ , ָߤ ָߤ , ޛָ ֋օ ޛָ ֋, ߅ ָߤ ׻֋ , ֮֮ߵ ӡ ן ִ֮ ֌ , ֮ ֺ ָߤ ™ߵ ׮ֵ ָ֕ ִס֟ פ ֵ, և פ ֵօ ֵԯ ֡ ָߤ פօ 650 ֵ, ָߤ ִ֣Ԯ 滵 , 滵 ִ ָ ™ߵ ׮ֵ ָߤ פօ ֲ ׾ ֮ ָ ™ߵ ׮ֵ ָ ָ ָߤ פ , -־ ׻ֵ , ָ֬ ָ ָߤ פօ ֤ ָߤ ָ , ֲ , ֮֮ߵ ӡ 50 ֵ ꅠ ֮ ֋ 녠 ֮־ָ, ־֕ ֮ ֵօ ™ߵ ׮ֵ ֤ ִ ָߤ פօ ָ Ϥ ָ Ϥ ֮֮ߵ ܵ ӡ ֮ 25 ָߤꅠ 25 ߅ 572 ãׯ֟ ֋ ֕ ֮ 20 ָ ֤ ָߤ ֵ ֮֮ߵ ӡ ֮ 150 ָߤ ꅠ , ֮־ָ, ֮ , ֮֮ߵ ӡ , ֻ 86 ָߤ 100 ָߤ , ִ Ӥ ֻ֟ ? ֤ , ײ , ָߤ ֣ ֣ ™ߵ ׮ֵ ָߤֵ ֮־ָ, ו ָ ֻ֟ , ָߤ , ָ֬ ָ ֮֟ 1997-98 53 ָߤ ֵ, 1998-99 126.5 , 1999-2000 141.4 , 2000-01 163.5 , 2001-02 206.3 , 2002-03 190.5 , 2003-04 158 , 2004-05 168 , 2005-06 147 ִֵ ָߤ , ֻ 86.5 , 100 ֛օ ޛָ , , ֵ֟ ֛օ ׻֋ פ ֋ ֵ֟ ֻ ֻ֮ ָߤ ֵ֟ ֮ ֛ ֮ ֮ ֛ , ֮ ָߤ (2/֋֋ ָ ֿ:)

 

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