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Stop driving farmers to misery, CPI-M warns government

Blaming the “callous attitude” of the Modi and BJP state governments for farmer protests in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the CPI-M has called for an immediate end to policies that cause misery to peasants.

“It is the callous attitude of the BJP state governments and the Modi government at the Centre which has led to the widespread protests in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh,” CPI-M journal “People’s Democracy” said in an editorial.

“The Modi government should stop this disastrous course of immiserisation of the farmers.

“It should forthwith implement its promise of providing farmers with a fair price for their produce based on the cost of production plus 50 per cent profit.

“The state governments concerned should initiate debt relief measures which will include loan waivers,” the Communist Party of India-Marxist said.

The editorial said the farmers’ struggles in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh had “punctured in a spectacular fashion the tall claims made by the Modi government about the transformation of agriculture and empowerment of farmers”.

It said that both in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the basic demand of the farmers was a fair price for their agricultural produce by ensuring a minimum support price (MSP) for all crops to cover the cost of production plus 50 per cent profit.

“This was the recommendation of the National Commission of Farmers, which was included in the election manifesto of the BJP.

“But in practice, the Modi government has reneged on this promise. It has been fixing the MSP for various crops far below the actual cost of production.

“Not only that, the government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court clearly stating that the C2+50 per cent cannot be given.”

The CPI-M said the demand for loan waiver was being raised due to rural distress and farmers’ suicides.

The BJP-ruled Maharashtra saw the highest number of suicides in 2015-16 and Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh accounted for 6,535 (51.85 per cent) of total farmers’ suicides in 2015, it said.

The editorial urged the governments in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh to talk to farmers to meet their genuine demands.

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