Vidarbha farmers unimpressed by budget

February 28th, 2011 - 8:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee Nagpur, Feb 28 (IANS) Even as the union budget placed agriculture central to the country’s growth, it failed to impress the cotton famers and farm widows of the Vidarbha region, an activist said here Monday.”There is no relief package for those farmers or farm widows who have lost their husbands to debt and bad crops,” said Kishor Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS).

“There is no change in cotton export policy and no provision for food and health security or family pension to farm widows,” he rued.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Monday announced in the general budget a slew of measures, including Rs.1 lakh crore more farm credit at subsidised rates, removal of production and distribution bottlenecks in food items and a second green revolution in the east.

To boost growth of the farm sector, the government has raised the target of credit flow to farmers to Rs.4.75 lakh crore in fiscal 2011-12 as against Rs.3.75 lakh crore in the current financial year.

“This budget is as bad as earlier budgets. Our demand to lift the ban on cotton export, a bail-out package for dying cotton farmers and rehabilitation of 10,000 farm widows has been ignored completely,” Tiwari said.

While VJAS welcomed the relief in the interest rate on crop loan, it also reiterated that the long pending demand of interest-free loans to dry land farmers should be approved.

The group also appreciated the move to double the monthly fixed payout to Anganwadi workers, but pointed out that the amount is still too little considering the work done by the staff.

The NGO, which works for the welfare of all Vidarbha farmers, also demanded that the centre review the decision of the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) to retain the cap of 55 lakh bales of natural fibre shipments for the current cotton season.

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