Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 13
The Swaminathan report which offers suggestions to address the problems faced by farmers appears to have been dumped by both the BJP and the Congress, since the election manifesto of both parties doesn’t mention this promise.
The National Commission on Farmers headed by MS Swaminathan was constituted on November 18, 2004, and it submitted four reports on December 2004, August 2005, December 2005 and April 2006.
The report had recommended among other things 50 per cent margin over input costs of the farmers, and farmers’ bodies have been demanding its implementation for long.
The BJP had included implementation of the report in its manifesto in 2014, but when the Narendra Modi government announced the formula for calculation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops after coming to power, it stopped short of Swaminathan recommendations and came with a formula that the party claimed would give 50 per cent profits to farmers on their input costs.
However, the Congress has been attacking the BJP for its “failure to implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan report in their letter and spirit” all these years, though Haryana Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister OP Dhankar, who was chairman of the manifesto drafting committee for the BJP’s sankalp patra, maintains that all major points of the report stand implemented.
Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had alleged after the announcement of the MSP formula that the government’s claims on MSP were completely false.
“In its election manifesto, the BJP had promised to calculate farmers’ profits for fixing the MSP by the C2 formula, but now the government has been calculating it by A2 plus FL method. The C2 formula means the comprehensive cost and it includes imputed costs of family labour (FL), imputed rent of owned land and imputed interest on owned capital. On the other hand, the A2 costs are the costs the farmer actually pays out of his pocket for buying various inputs ranging from seeds to fertilisers to pesticides to hired labour to hired machinery or even land taken on lease,” Hooda had alleged with a promise to implement the cost calculation formula correctly once the Congress came to power in the state.
Now, when the Congress unveiled its manifesto in Chandigarh on Friday, the document had no mention of the Swaminathan report.
When contacted for his comments today, Hooda claimed that the Congress had already implemented many of the recommendations when he was in power till 2014.
“After Swaminathan submitted his report, a committee of Chief Ministers was constituted under me. The interest on farm loans in cooperative banks across the country was reduced to 4 per cent. In Haryana, the interest was made zero per cent if the farmers paid their due amount in time,” said Hooda.
Given much more: Agriculture Minister
Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar said the party had given much more than what Swaminathan recommended. “The first 32 points of our manifesto are dedicated to farmers. They include doubling farmers’ income by 2022, waiver of interest on total crop loan worth Rs 5,000 crore, pension of Rs 3,000 per month to 14 lakh farmers.”
Many proposals adopted by Cong: Hooda
Bhupinder Singh Hooda claimed that the Congress had already implemented many of the recommendations when he was in power till 2014. “After Swaminathan submitted his report…. the interest on farm loans in cooperative banks was reduced to 4 per cent. In Haryana, the interest was made zero per cent if farmers paid their amount in time.”
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