Rajya Sabha passes Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill

NEW DELHI: SP leader Vishambhar Prasad Nishad on Thursday demanded a repeal of three contentious farm laws and pitched for a new law to make minimum support price (MSP) mandatory for the procurement of agriculture produce.

Farmers are protesting against the three new farm laws for more than two months at Delhi’s borders, demanding a repeal of these legislations.

They are also pressing the government for making MSP mandatory.

Participating in a debate on the Union Budget in the Rajya Sabha, Nishad said, “The farm bills were drafted on the directions of corporates. When the farmers do not want these bills, why are these being imposed on them? I demand that the farm laws should be taken back and a new law to guarantee MSP should be brought”.

He pointed out that there is no special package in the budget for the farmers of the parched Bundelkhand region.

Nishad also drew the attention of the House towards incidents of farmer suicide due to crop loss and debt and demanded that all crops be covered under insurance.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) leader said he does not think that the government’s plan about doubling the income of farmers will succeed and pointed out that there is no provision for the farm-allied sectors in the budget.

“The budget is a bundle of untrue bluffs,” he said.

The budget will increase the disparity between the rich and the poor and it is very disappointing for farmers, wage-earners and small traders, Nishad said.

He also urged the prime minister to withdraw the Model Village scheme as not a single penny has been released for the purpose in the last five to seven years.

The SP leader criticised the government over the issue of privatisation of public sector undertakings, mentioning about its plan to divest the State’s stake in the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and the Air India.

He also mentioned apprehensions over the deteriorating standards of the sainik schools due to the privatisation plan.

“As many as 32 public sector undertakings are being divested and there are plans to privatise state-run banks, which may affect the farmers’ savings. This may affect farmers if these private banks would fly by night after taking along the funds of poor farmers,” Nishad said.

He said there is no provision for roads and bridges in Uttar Pradesh in the budget and also referred to some bridges, especially on the Yamuna river, where the work is 75 per cent complete and more funds are awaited.

The SP leader also asked for four-laning of the Sher Shah Suri Marg.

He alleged that not a single smart city has been developed so far and no bullet train is operational in the country.

The rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime and demonetisation have broken the back of the economy, Nishad said.

He said jobs have been lost and employment opportunities have decreased in the last five years.

Participating in the discussion, Ram Chandra Prasad Singh of the Janata Dal (United) lauded the finance minister for bringing an excellent budget.

He said nobody died due to hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the government’s efforts.

Singh said farmers not only produce foodgrains but also create employment opportunities because of value addition to agriculture produce.