SHRI SANTOSH BAGRODIA (CONTD.): Let them buy from anywhere. Why should we force them to buy only from these places where they get bad quality material, less quality material? Then, they will be able to get material of their own satisfaction, from any shop which they think is the best. You may kindly consider this point, Sir.

The collective strength of the farmers has to be built up by encouraging farmers' organisations and other entities like cooperatives. Sir, it should be emphasised that there is no level playing field between the capital, subsidy and technology-driven mass production agriculture of the industrialised countries and the production by masses. Agriculture of India is characterised by weak support services, heavy debt and resource technology poverty. Indian single market will also help to promote farmer-friendly home market. I would now just explain, Sir, how the total number of units have doubled whereas the total area is reduced. With this fragmentation how can you expect them to be productive enough and compete with the developed countries? You have to find out some method. What happens is, for example, all these farmers may not be able to provide, say, mechanised tractors. If the Government can have another agency which can give tractor service to these people, and in a big way, say, in 500 hectares all the farmers will get service from the same tractor. That will reduce the cost for the farmer and this tractor service will also make some money out of it. Then, we can probably compete better with the developed countries. Otherwise, this fragmented land will continue to produce less. The productivity of land will remain less per hectare and we will never be able to compete with them.

The future of Indian agriculture will depend upon the efficiency and seriousness with which pro-farmer marketing systems are put in place. Sir, this is a very peculiar situation. Whatever is being produced in the country, 65 per cent consumers are also farmers themselves. So, they produce inefficiently. That affects them when they become consumer also. This will help, what I have suggested now. This may not be a straight cooperative farming. But, it will be much better organised. People will have individuality and the cooperative also. Both will be maintained together. That will reduce the cost and this is how the farmers and they themselves as consumers will also help them. This is a national waste, if our cost is more than any other country in the world.

The MSP and procurement operations are two separate initiatives and should be operated as such. The Government needs to ensure that both farmers, who also constitute a majority of consumers, and urban consumers get a fair deal. The food security basket should be widened to include crops of the dry-farming areas like bajra, jawar ragi, minor millets and pulses. The PDS should include these nutritious cereals and pulses purchased at reasonable MSP.

Sir, with living standards increasing, in my own State, in Rajasthan, I find people who are eating bajra, want to go to wheat. The result is, the demand for wheat has increased and the demand for bajra has gone down. So, unless the MSP is increased for bajra, there will be a problem and finally the prices of bajra will also go up. So, the MSP should be considered from this angle and a realistic MSP should be finalised for bajra, jawar, etc. This will be a win-win situation both for the dry-land farmer and the consumer. We will witness neither a second Green Revolution nor much progress in dry-land farming unless farmers get assured and remunerative prices for their produce.

Sir, CACP, the Commission on Agriculture Cost and Prices, should be an autonomous statutory organisation, because there is too much Government influence. Sometimes it really does not help. (Contd. by 2b)


SHRI SANTOSH BAGRODIA (CONTD.): Sir, State Agencies may continue to be used by the Centre to undertake operations in different States if they perform more efficiently than the FCI, because the FCI has become unwieldy. There was a lot of discussion going on as to how we make the FCI more responsible, more need-oriented, and corruptionless. Probably you know that the foodgrains are lying in the open. There is no system of first-come first-out. Whatever comes first, they have no method to take it out. The result is that it remains there and the mice, cats, dogs have a free time. Therefore, Sir, if you really want that whatever we procure is properly distributed all over the country, the FCI has to be revamped in a big way.

Sir, I congratulate Narayanasamyji, though my friend likes to disturb me, on and off, in a very friendly manner, on bringing a Bill which is very timely. We are all lucky that in the lottery, his name has come and the entire House is interested in it.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Mostly, it comes.

SHRI SANTOSH BAGRODIA: I hope there is no * in it.

SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY: Sir, I have a point of order. I want to know whether that word * is allowed in the House.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: No. That word is expunged.

SHRI SANTOSH BAGRODIA: It cannot go on record.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: It is expunged.


* Expunged as ordered by the Chair.

SHRI SANTOSH BAGRODIA: That is my personal remark. So, I, once again, thank you for giving me this opportunity. I am sure the hon. Minister has understood the very serious problem of MSP and proper remunerative price for the farmers, and he will consider it seriously. Thank you, Sir. (Ends)

SHRI ARJUN KUMAR SENGUPTA (WEST BENGAL): Sir, I rise to speak because Mr. Narayanasamy has brought a discussion, which, I think, is touching the very core of our economic policies. Sir, today, I was listening to Mr. Bagrodia. He is very right on many of the things. But the main problem today is that we are operating in an economy, which is running mostly on market incentives. It is difficult to think too much of market intervention. But, at the same time, particularly this Government cannot ignore the effects of a free market operation, if it affects the lives of the poor and lives of millions of farmers. So, we have to play a role, which does not really upset the market system, but still intervenes in the market system in a market-friendly way to achieve the result that the Government today wants to achieve. I want to put it out because there is a lot of misunderstanding about the policy options open to the Government. All policy options do not mean that the Government has to intervene heavy-handedly. But, there are policy options when the Government can intervene for the benefit of the poor man, aam aadmi, in a way that does not really distort the basic reforms process. I am very grateful that Mr. Narayanasamy, very rightly, has brought this particular issue holding out the importance of the Commodity Board, and I want to put forward this question very clearly.

(Contd. by VKK/2C)


SHRI ARJUN KUMAR SENGUPTA (CONTD.): Because today, if we have to do something we have to do it in a manner that is decentralised; all the decisions are taken in a participatory manner and those who are affected are involved in this thing. A few days back the Congress President made a statement that instead of just simply talking about public-private partnership, we should talk about public civil society partnership. The Board that Mr. Narayanasamy is talking about could be a perfect example of that. If the Board consists of members who represent the farmers, consumers and the civil society and it tries to monitor the policies that are followed and bring out the implications of that openly, it will serve a major purpose.

Sir, let me point out the three questions that he has raised. One is the Minimum Support Price. Now, we have mechanisms here. We have got the Agricultural Prices Commission and Mr. Bagrodia said that there are problems in fixing prices from different regions etc. But, the main issue there is not lack of expertise. The main issue is of a mechanism to reflect the opinion of the people who are affected. The Minimum Support Price that experts would arrive at on the basis of cost calculations etc. need not be the right Minimum Support Price. Now, in our system, the Government finally takes a decision. Minimum Support Prices are recommended by this agency and the Government takes a decision. Mr. Narayanasamy's Board would introduce a special public civil society organisation which would be able to reflect on the correctness of the Minimum Support Price, point out why it should be different in different areas and would be able to tell this to the Government. I am not saying that Commodity Board's recommendation should be mandatory, but this is a major instrument that is missing in our system by which we can actually capture the views of those who are being affected.

The second question that has been raised is, that agency should purchase in the market. Now, there are two ways by which the Government can intervene in purchase. First is when there is a bumper crop and the market prices are below the Minimum Support Price. The Government says quite categorically that the Minimum Support Price is something at which the produce of any farmer, if he offers his produce, must be bought by FCI or whichever Government agency is concerned. There is no way of monitoring that. There are plenty of cases where you can point out that although FCI should make the purchase, they have not made the purchase. Who will monitor this? This is again a task of the civil society public partnership which this Commodity Board can perform. But this role is already there for the FCI to play, that if there is a bumper crop and the prices are below the Minimum Support Price, they must purchase. If they do not, somebody should monitor and Mr. Narayanasamy's Commodity Board is very well placed for that. But there is another point where the Government or the Government agency can intervene and make the purchase even when the market price is not below the Minimum Support Price. This would be -- this is all given in our system -- to build up the buffer stock, that we need so much stock so that we can intervene in the market at the right time. That particular freedom this Government agency must have. Unfortunately, in our system, very seldom, if you ask the FCI to go and make a purchase in the open market, our systems of auditing, system of CBI and systems of all types of cross-check would very rarely allow an initiative taking FCI to go in the market and make open market purchases. Here again, this Commodity Board can play a very major role, that there are certain areas and certain places where this Government agency can make a purchase at a price which is reasonable. And I am expecting that the Board will play that particular role very well. Finally, and this is the point which needs emphasis, the question of distribution of this product. (Contd. by RSS/2d)


SHRI ARJUN KUMAR SENGUPTA (CONTD.): This is the point where our system is failing, actually falling apart. The hon. Member, Shri Santosh Bagrodia, has just said that our Public Distribution System is meant for the poor people. Very seldom the whole quantity reaches them. The BPL card is nobody's business. But the most important point is that nobody has the right to a BPL card, but everybody has a right to minimum access to food, and therefore, this distinction between the BPL and APL that has been introduced in our system, is the source of major corruption and major distortion in the market because we do not know who is BPL and who is APL. This particular problem comes up again and again, as a result of that. I think, we shall get an opportunity to talk about the prices when the debate on the price rise takes place. At that time, I will give you evidence about these things. Even in this crisis situation, the total release of foodgrains has come down because of a very peculiar belief that we need not care about the APL; we should care about only the BPL, without knowing how to distinguish between the two. This is an issue which I shall take up if I am allowed to speak on the prices. But today, while pointing out to Narayanasamy's idea of the Commodity Board, I would like to say that it can play a very major role in seeing whether the Public Distribution System is working or whether it is not working, it can point out that it is not working, how it can be changed. What I am visualizing, following again the lead given by the Congress President, to organise proper civil society public partnership organisations, and this Commodity Board of Narayanasamy should be an example of that. It can play a major role at every step of our agriculture marketing, price fixing, procurement of products and also Public Distribution System. And therefore, I fully support this Bill, and I hope, the Minister will take into consideration all these things. There would be some issues about the membership of the Board, issues about what kind of powers it will have, vis-a-vis, the Government. It has to be only advisory, but not just advisory in the sense that you do not care about this whole thing. Every recommendation of the APC should go to them, to the Government for consideration.

Then, another question comes, and I think, Mr. Narayanasamy will be able to talk about it. We may not consider about one Commodity Board. We may have to consider about different Commodity Boards for different commodities. These issues can be taken up by the Minister at a different point of time when this is considered. I support the Bill fully. Thank you. (ends)

ָ֕ (ֻ֓ Ϥ) : ֮־֤, ֳ֬ ߅ ֲ ֤ ׸š ֮֮ߵ ֤õ ִֵָ ֬և ֠ ֮־֤ ֯ ׾ֵ ָ ׮֕ ײֻ ֵ ָ Ϭ֮ , ֕ ß֮ ֳ֠ 73 ןֿ֟֠

( ֳ֯ן ߚ߮ )

׬ ֮֟ ָ ׮ֳԸ - - , ָ֯ , ־֕ ִ֮ ֟ þ֟ӡ ָ , ֳ 60 ֤֕ ֤ , ֕ ֮ ֟ ָ ֲ֕ ֛ ֳ ֡ ֮ ָ ֮ ֻ ֟ֆ ָ ׾ָ֓ , ֓ԋ , ֿ֟ ָ , ִ֯ ִֵ ָ ֤֕ ֤ ׸ 00-480 ԟ ֟ , ֕ ֟ , ֳ ֮ ײֻ , ָ ֕ ׾ֵ ֟׮ֳԸ , ׻֋ ָ ֕ ֵ֟ ֮ ָ ֲ֕ ֛ օ (2e ָ ֿ:)


ָ֕ (֟) : ֮ ָ ׮, וִ ׬ֵ֮ ׮־֙ 0 ..־ ִֵ ָ Ϭ֮ ӡ ֻ ֤ á ָ ׸ ן ֜ ãן ֮ ָ ֕ ™ ָ ֮օ ָ ֤ ֮֮ߵ ֤õ .. ֻ , ׾ֵ ֛ ֟ ӕֲ ֜־ ™ ֯ ֤֮

, ֕ - ݻֻև֮, ָ֕, ָ ־ã֋ , ֮ ֤ ߱ ֟ ֤֕ ֮ ֤ ֮ ֮ ׻֋ ָ ׮ֳԸ ֛ , ֮ ߠ ӳ־֮ ־ ֲ ֤ ִֵ ָ ״ֻ, ֲ ִ ָ ״ֻ, ֮ ׬ӿ ֵ , ע ָ ׮ֳԸ פ , ֮ ֻ ֲԤ ֟ ֮ ֮ ׻֋ ־ã Ӿ ָ , ־ֿ , ׻֋ ™ߵ ָ ֻ ָ և , ֕ ߸-߸ ָ ־ã֋ ִ֯ ֕ ֮ פ , ֲ פ , ָ֯ ֲֻ ָ ֟ ֤ ֟Դ֮ ߋ ָָ Ͽ ָ ֵ֟ ֮ 7 ןֿ֟ ֕- ָ פ ֋, ֤ ӡֵֻ פ , ֕ ֮ 7 ןֿ֟ ֕- ָ ״ֻ ָ ָ ֮ ָ ׮ֳԸ ֵ֕ ָ ִ ֮ ָ ֲ֕ ִֵ ֟ -"ִ , ִ֬ ָ֯, ׮ִ ", ֕ ֕ ϟ ֮ ָ ָ ָ ֓ , ֮ ִ ֵ֕ ָ , ָ֮ - ״ֻ ֋, ׸ ֋ ֲ ֻ ע ָ , ֲ ״ֻ֟ ׬ ֕- ָ ״ֻ֟ , ֯ ֮ ӳ־֮ ׻֋ ãן - ָ֯ ™ ™ ֟ ָ ֕ -״, ו ָ ֟ , ״ ָ ָ ... ָ ״ , ֵָ ״ ֛-֛ , ֯ן , ֮ ׻֋ , ֲ ... ֮֋ ֮ ָ ָ֬ ָ ôֻ כִ ӛÙߕ , ׻֋ ־ã ֋߅ ֕ ֛-֛ ... , ݕ괯ֿ֮

, ֕ ָ ׮ֳԸ ו ָ ֮ ֤ ֳָ ִ֟ ֕ ָ ־ã֋ ָ߲ ֜ Ӥ ߸ , ߸ ֮֮ߵ ִֵָ ™ ֕ , ..., ״׮ִִ ֯ և, י և , ֮ ״ֻ, ™ ־ã ֮ 2/ ָ


ָ֕ (֟): ֕ ־ã , ֲ ֮ ָ ֕ ֟ , ֟ , ֣ ߠ ٙև ߴ֟ פ-ןפ ֜ ֕ ٙև̸ ߴ֟ , ߮ ֤ ֜ ֟ , ֮ , ׻֋ ֻ ָ ִ ֵ , ֻ ִ ״ֻ֟ ָ ו ָ ֕ 滵 ֵ , ֕ ָ֕ ֛-֛ ׮ֵ ֮ ֕ ̸ߤ ָ ׮ֵ ֤ ִ ֕ ָߤ , ֡ ָߤ ֛-֛ ֮ ָߤ ֮ , ִ ָ ׮ֵ ֳ ״ֻ ֟ ָָ ߕ , וִ֮ ߆և ָ ֵ ֟ , ә ֲ ә , ֲ ֬ ֤ ֕ ִ ָ֯ ָߤ ֟ , ו ׸ִ ֮ ֮ ֟ ֟ ׻֋ ֲ֕ ֛ ӲӬ ֟ ׾ֿ ֮ ݵ ֲ ֮ ״׮ִִ ֯ և ֵ , ִֵ , ֲ ֻ ֮ ִֵ , 15 פ ߮ ֵ ֋ ߓ ֲ ֻ և ֕ ֟ , ִֵ ׸ ֟ ﮙ ߋ ָ ֕ ֋֯ ֵ ֻ ߕ ֮֟ , ִ , ֙ ֮-ן׮׬ֵ ׸֮ פ ֮ , ו֮ ̴߮ ָ֮ ֲ ָ ߕ ֵ , ׮ֵ ָ֕ ָ֬ ָ ֲ ߕ ֵ , ̴߮ ָ , ־ , ™ ִ ָ ־ã֋ ֋Ӆ ־ã ׻֋ ֮֮ߵ ִֵָ ׻֋ ָ֮ כ þֵֿ֢ ã ֚ ֋, ֟ ԟֵ ֟ , ֕ ߴ֟ ֵ ׻֋ ָ ָָ ߕ ִֵ ָ ә߮ , ׻֋ ֕ ָ ָ֮ ־ã ֮ ־ֿ

֮ ׸ ן և, ֮ ֕ , ֕ ָ ӕֲ ֋ ִ ֲ ݻֻև֮ פ ֟ ֟ ָ ߵ ָ פ , ָ ֮ ײ֛ ֟ , ָ ײ֛ þ֓׻֟ , ֲ ß֮ ֟ ֟ ָ ־ã֋ ֮ ֟ ֟ ָ ֟ ֋, ֟ ™ ß֮ ߵ ָ ׳֮֟

ß֮ Ӿ  ױ׿֋ә ׮֙ , וִ ָ ֵ Ӿ ֟ , ֲ ׾֤ ֣ ֟ ֮ , ָ ־ã֋ ָ ֟ , ָ ֮ ֟ ׻֋ ֲ֕ ֛ ָ ָ ׸ ן ֮ ־֕, ֕ ִֻ  ױ׿֋ә ־֕ ֟Դ֮ ָָ ֵֻ , ֛ : ֣ ֛ 70 י ֵ֟ ֛օ ֯ ֮ ̸ߤ , ׻֙ ֕ ָ ֛ ׌ ָߤ ׻֋ ָ ָߤ ׻֋ 1100 ֵ ן ،֙ , ß֮ ֮ ֮ ָߤ , ֻ 800 ֵ פ ֟ ָ ֯ ß֮ ֮ ד֟ ׸ָי և ֕ ׾֤ ֵ֟ ־ֿ ߅ ֟ ד֟ ָ ؓ֟ ֮ , ָ ֓ ֮ , ׻֋ ָ ןֵ ׮֬Ը ָ ֮ ֤ ֕ ֛ 2G ָ ָ


ָ֕ (֟) : ß֮ ֮ ָ ׾֬֋ , ָ ֓և ָ ־ã ֣ ָ ׮ִ ֮ ֮և וִ ֓և ׾ֿ ֕ ֲ Ϥ ֟ ָ ֓և ™ ß֮ ֮֋ ֮ ִ ֲ ߓ ׻֋ ֓և ׻֋ ֟ ֲ ״׮Ùי ֯כָ ֟ , ־ã ֟ ֤ ㆻ ֵ ֻ֟ ֻ֟ , ָ ׾ָ֓ , ָ ֮ ꅠ 00 ֓և ־ã֋, ֑ ֓և ־ã֋Ӡ ָ Ϥ , ֲ ֮֋ ֻ ֲ ֮ ֮ ֵ, ֲ֠ ֮֋ ֟ և ֤ ֮ Ӥ ֵօ ָ ־ã֋ ֮ ֮ ֻ ֮֜ ׻֋ ָ֯י ֯ , ו ָ ֮ ־ã ָ ؙ ևߕ ָ ד֟ ִ ״ֻ , ֟ ־ã ô ә֮ ֵ ߅ ֕ ß֮ ָ֯י և , , ָ 0000 , ו֮֟ ָ ã֋ ָ ָ ֱ ָ Ϥ ָ֯י Ùߙ ֕ Ӥ ֙ ֻ ׮ֻ֓ ßָ ָ ָ ָ֯י ևߕ ִ֯ ؙ ә֮֠ ׻֋ ָָ ָ כև ָ֯י Ùݣ֮ ־ֿ ֲ ־ã և ֕ ָ ָ ֕ ָߤ ָ , ֛-֛ ֮ ֕ ָ ֟ ִ ֲ ߿֮ ֟ ֮ ֻ֓ Ϥ ֕ , ֮ ֻ , ֻ֓ Ϥօ ִ ן ָ ׮ֳԸ ֛ ָ ֛ ֵ ִ֯ ֋, ׸ ֤ և ִ֯ ֋օ ֱ ָ ִ֯ ֋, ׬ ָ ִ֯ ֋ ׸ִ ֮ , ־֮ ָ ֮ ָ ֛ ™ 000 ָ ֕ פ ֟ , ֻ , ֻ , ӟָ ֻ , ִ ֻ ֻ ֻ , ֮ ӿ ָ פ ֟ , 000 פ ֟ , ؙ ә֮ ߴ ָ ֻև ֟ ׮־ ӡ ׾ֵ ׾ָ֓ ֻ , ֻ ֮ , ָ י և ״ֻ ß־ ֮ , ָ ֓և ־ã וִ ֕ ־ָ , ׻֋ ָ ֟ , ו ־ֿ ־ֿ ָ և ״ֻ , ™ ִ ־ã ־ֿ ֮֮ߵ ִֵָ ָ ß־ ֵ , ָ ִ֣Ԯ ݵ ׸ ™ߵ ßָ ָ ֮և ֋ ָ ׾ֵ ָ ֮ ֮ ãן ָ ׻֋ י և ״ֻ , ד֟ ִ ״ֻ ָ ִ ֻ , , ™ ָ ־ã ִ֟ ֮ ֣ ָ ֻ օ - ֮־֤

(ִ֯) (2H ָ )


SHRI MATILAL SARKAR (TRIPURA): Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, first of all, I congratulate my esteemed colleague and friend, Shri V. Narayanasamy, for bringing in the Agricultural Produce (Remunerative Prices) Bill, 2006, and for giving a scope for discussion on the effects of agriculture as a whole. Many a time issues have been raised here, in the House, and discussions have also been held on the conditions of farmers, on the effects of agriculture. What I would like to refer here is that our discussions have not yielded sufficiently good result up till now, and that is why the issue is coming to the House again and again. The reason for this is that we are not pursuing a correct agricultural policy; I should mention that first. If the agricultural policy is not correctly arrived at, it may not yield good result. Now what should be our agricultural policy? The agricultural policy should be so designed that the farmers should have land; so to say, a viable quantity of land should be given to each and every farmer. I say, 'viable quantity' which enables him to take loans; he should be able to get a substantial income so that he can return the loan and also maintain his livelihood. But if we see what the condition of land is, about 66 per cent of the farmers of our country are having land less than one hectare, or, you may say, less than two acres. This is the condition of the farmers in our country. So, if sixty six per cent of the farmers are not having even one acre of land, how can their holding be viable? The second aspect that we should include in the policy is that they should have irrigation facilities. If we take the case of not only Punjab and Haryana, but also of the whole country, only 40 per cent of land has been covered under irrigation up till now, and the rest 60 per cent remain due. We have completed more than 50 years of independence, there should have been better marketing facilities created. The farmers should have the market to sell their agricultural produce at a remunerative price. The policy should offer to the farmers the availability of seeds, pesticides and fertilisers at an affordable price. This has not been ensured as yet. The farmers should have an opportunity to take financial assistance from financial institutions. There is a great lacuna that the farmers are facing up till now. The farmers do not have sufficient opportunity to get bank credit. So they rush to private moneylenders, and they get indebted to them for years together.

(Continued by 2J)


SHRI MATILAL SARKAR (CONTD.): So, they fail to continue farming. Some of them go to the extent of committing suicide. So, agricultural labourers should be given fair wages. Our agricultural policy should be such that agricultural labourers get fair wages and other amenities like housing, medical facilities, education for their children. All these facilities should be provided to agricultural labourers and agricultural workers. If agricultural workers do not get these facilities, how will they provide their labour to the farmers?

The eighth point that I would like to be included in the agricultural policy is that all the farmers should be brought under the purview of the crop insurance scheme, in which we have still been lagging far behind. What is the agricultural scenario in the country? Sir, the rate of growth of our population is 1.8 per cent. The annual average growth rate of our agricultural production is 1.3 per cent. This shows that our population is increasing at a faster rate than our agriculture production. That is another reason why we do not have sufficient food.

Sir, public investment in the agricultural sector is declining. We have seen in the last Budget also. The budgetary provision for agricultural, for irrigation, was not only not up to the mark, it was much less than what was required.

Sir, agricultural production in the country is not steady. It is unstable. Over the last four or five years, the production has been going down. The total production has been going down. Sir, a large number of farmers, particularly the young ones, are withdrawing from farming. They do not have opportunities in agriculture now. They are rushing to the cities. They are rushing to the urban areas. This is the scenario. So, loss of farms or loss of land for agriculture is one serious concern which needs to be taken care of. Sir, people are increasingly moving out to the cities for their livelihood. So, while saying that there is this trend of their movement to the cities, I would also like to say that in West Bengal, in Tripura and in Kerala we have been seeing an opposite trend. If you look at the Census, you will find that the population of West Bengal is increasing like anything. But, surprisingly, the population of Kolkata has been more or less stationary. Why is it so? It is because the farmers in the villages there have lots of opportunities to earn their livelihood, to grow crops, vegetables, to take to fishing and many other activities and so stay there. That work possibility has been arranged for them. (Contd. by 2k/tdb)


SHRI MATILAL SARKAR (CONTD.): That is why the rush to the city has been arrested in Tripura and in West Bengal. For my State Tripura, I can say this. So, this message should be taken to all corners of the country.

Sir, I would like to say something about irrigation. In these days of advancement of science and technology, we have left our farmers the only way to look at the open sky when it will rain, when water will come down and then they will plough their land. Even after 59 years of Independence, we have left our farmers to that stage. Sir, in Bengali it is said, ' , ֮ ' This is the situation till today. When flood comes, it is flooded everywhere. Our rivers get over-flown and the water goes down to the seas and we cannot store it. What is the percentage of water that we utilise? And, when there is drought, we cannot give water to the land; we cannot give our farmer the opportunity to lift water from inside the soil. We cannot provide them money for this purpose. They run to the banks; they run to the financial institutions, and nobody cares to help them. And, finally, they rush to the private money-lenders for a loan so that they can bore a tubewell for getting water for their crops. Sir, every year, a lot of water goes waste. Why can't we store this water? Why can't we divert the flow of rivers to go across the field? Why could we not do it up-till now? Are we short of engineers? Have we not got good number of agricultural scientists in our country? Why can't we do this? This is because of the lacuna in the planning. We did not want to do so. We did not tell them that this should be done. What have we seen in China? Lakhs and lakhs of people used to die every year in river Huang Ho. But, now the river Huang Ho is a blessing for the Chinese. That way, we cannot control river the Brahmaputra; we cannot control the Ganges; we cannot control the Yamuna, Saraswati and Godavari. We cannot control all these rivers. We cannot utilise that water. If sufficient attention is given to irrigation, then, our farmers will prosper. Without irrigation, there can be no agriculture.

Sir, this year, what have we seen? The drought-prone areas were flooded. This year, we had a peculiar situation. The drought-prone areas, the drought-prone States, got flooded by water and in the areas like North-east, Assam, West Bengal and Bihar, where generally there used to be plenty of rainfall, there was no rainfall this year. For them, there was no water. These areas got deficient rainfall. It was calculated that these areas recorded deficiency in rainfall by about 20 per cent.

(Contd. by 2l-PK)


SHRI MATILAL SARKAR (CONTD.): In the areas where generally every year sufficient rainfall occurs, this year, that was not the situation.

Now, Sir, I come to the procurement policy. My good friend, Shri Arjun Kumar Sengupta has already mentioned about the procurement policy of our country. Alongwith the procurement policy, there is the question of Minimum Support Price. Both are interconnected. Generally, in Haryana and Punjab, procurement is done. But there are also States where agricultural production is not much less. For example, in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, there is no procurement. That is why, there, cultivators are forced to distress-sale. They are being compelled to take up the distress sale, because there is nobody to purchase their produce at a reasonable price. There is no public agency to purchase their crops. Sir, the agriculture sector is a sector which provides the largest opportunities of work till now, because industrial development has not taken place all over the country uniformly. Even now in many States, actually, if we speak of the work opportunities, they are confined to the agriculture sector to a large extent. About sixty per cent of the work force today is engaged in agriculture. But, nowadays, there also, we see that the opportunities of work have reduced because of the distress conditions of farmers. Sir, though our farmers produce crops, vegetables and other produces, when they bring their produces to markets, they find that there is a competition. There is a competition in the market. What kind of a competition? The competition is that our Government is pursuing, from the period of the NDA Government, a policy according to which there is no restriction on imports. There is no quantitative restriction on imports. That is why, paddy is coming, rice is coming, tea is coming, and wheat is also coming from abroad. All these are produced by the farmers. So, this outsourcing into our markets, because of our policy of liberalisation, is another cause why our farmers do not get the actual price of their produces. So, they cannot sell their produces. What is the market policy for the farmers? We have to open that to them. I would like to know from the Agriculture Minister what scope we have left for them when this is the market policy. And, what do we see? Because of this policy of liberalisation, subsidies from fertilizers, subsidies from inputs, subsidies from seeds, subsidies from pesticides have been either withdrawn or tremendously reduced. (Contd. by 2M)


SHRI MATILAL SARKAR (CONTD.): So, the farmers are compelled to spend more for the agricultural purposes. They are compelled to spend more, but, in turn, the prices of the crops are falling down. The prices of their produce are falling down. So, there is a double punishment for them. One, they have to spend more, and the second, the prices of their produce are falling down. So, where do the farmers stand?

Sir, now I come to the Minimum Support Price. How is the Minimum Support Price calculated? How will it be calculated? Our Government claims that it has increased the Minimum Support Price by Rs. 50 per quintal or like that. Sir, it is true that as compared to the other Governments, previous Governments, the UPA Government is giving a better MSP, the Minimum Support Price, to the farmers. I must thank the UPA Government for this. But, the thing is that, how are you calculating the Minimum Support Price? What are the criteria that have to be followed? For example, Sir, the cost of production should be calculated first. What is the cost of production? The cost of production must include labour charges. ...(Time-bell)... Sir, I will take two-three minutes more. What will be the cost of production? The cost of production must include labour charges. What are the labour charges? In our State of Tripura, for an agricultural labourer, we have to pay, at least, Rs. 150 per day; we are paying Rs. 125 to Rs. 150 per day. So, if we have to calculate the Minimum Support Price, we have to include that amount in the cost because three-four members of the farmers' family, the husband, the wife, sons and daughters are all working in the field. So, you have to calculate the labour charges for, at least, three persons. If you do not calculate the labour charges for, at least, three persons, then he will not be able to overcome the cost. So, you have to calculate at least three labour charges. Sir, it varies from region to region, from State to State.

The second thing that needs to be included is the irrigation cost. In our State, we are not charging irrigation cost. But in many other States, there is irrigation cost, and the irrigation cost also varies from State to State. What is the irrigation cost? If there is a provision for organised irrigation by using Government pumps, lift irrigation, and tubewells, etc., then it is all right. But if there is no scope for it, then how do the farmers irrigate their land? What will they do then? They will irrigate their land by traditional methods, traditional processes which are more costly.

Then, there is the transport cost. The farmers have to take their produce from his house to the market. There is a transport cost involved in it and it should also be calculated. Then, there is the cost of seeds. If the Government cannot provide them the seeds, they will go to the private shops for buying seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, etc., and that will cost a lot. There will be a huge cost involved in it. So, Sir, all these things should be taken into consideration, while calculating the cost of production. (Contd. by 2n/SKC)