Tuesday, March 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Urea price to dominate BJP meet
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 3
The issue of urea price hike is likely to dominate tomorrow’s BJP Parliamentary Party meeting with a large number of members determined to demand for a rollback on urea price hike even as Finance Minister Jaswant Singh virtually ruled out the possibility.

According to party sources, several senior BJP MPs have already sought permission from the Parliamentary Party chief to raise the urea price hike issue.

A majority of BJP MPs feel that although only 1 to 2 per cent price hike has been effected, a message has gone that the General Budget is anti-farmer and anti-poor.

Mr Jaswant Singh has been asked to be present in the meeting tomorrow to answer queries of the members, sources said adding that as of now there was no proposal to rollback the urea price hike.

Meanwhile, some of the BJP MPs have suggested that instead of a rollback, the Government should explore the possibility of floating some kind of a scheme whereby the subsidy benefits could be transferred directly to the farmers, instead of passing them through factory or mill owners.

This measure, will send a positive message among the farmers as the benefit of the subsidy will filter to the grass roots level.

They have also suggested that the Centre instead of buying foodgrains from the farmers through the Food Corporation of India (FCI), could chalk out a scheme whereby the subsidy money (Minimum Support Price minus the market price) could be directly given to farmers.

This they argue will save a lot of money by way of overhead charges like transportation of procured foodgrains to godowns and its maintenance and also the loss incurred by way of pilferage and loss of quality.


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