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Updated February 1st, 2024 at 23:36 IST

SKM Accuses Centre of Trying To Bring Farm Laws Through ‘Back Entry,’ Vows To Burn Budget Copies

SKM lambasted the government's proposal to promote private and public investment in post-harvest activities in Budget 2024.

Reported by: Press Trust Of India
Budget 2024
SKM accuses Centre of trying to bring farm laws through 'back entry,' vows to burn budget copies | Image:Freepik
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New Delhi: The proposals to promote private and public investment in post-harvest activities made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman in the interim budget is akin to giving "back entry" to the three farm laws which were repealed after a yearlong protest by farmers, Samyukt Kisan Morcha said on Thursday.

In a statement issued after the budget, the SKM lambasted the government's proposal to "promote private and public investment in post-harvest activities including aggregation, modern storage, efficient supply chains, primary and secondary processing and marketing and branding." The proposals were nothing but handing over the agriculture sector on a platter to the corporate houses, both domestic and foreign, it said.

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"Don't open agriculture to foreign and Indian monopoly capital for profiteering has been the policy of the State of India followed so far since independence and that helped to ensure self-reliance and food security of the country," the SKM said.

The farmers' collective said that instead of strengthening the public sector, cooperatives, and the MSMEs, the government was proposing to allow corporate houses to take over post-harvesting operations and it will vehemently oppose that proposal.

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The SKM said that despite the government's written assurance on December 9, 2021, of implementation of the minimum support price by the C2+50 per cent formula, it has not been done yet, nor did the budget have anything to say on the matter.

"It is a gross betrayal of the farmers and the people in general. Though employment has become a very acute issue, the Budget has no substantial allocation for employment generations, assuring minimum wage and minimum support price, for loan waiver and to reduce price rise," farmers' body said.

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The government had nothing to say on higher allocation of funds for MNREGA and was not ready for 200 work days and setting a Rs 600 daily wage, it said.

Calling it an "anti-farmer, anti-worker Budget," the SKM appealed all the farmers to burn the copies of the budget in their villages on Saturday and also urged people across the country to make the upcoming "Grameen Bandh" and "Industrial/ Sectoral Strike" successful.

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The group also raised objection to the finance minister's statement on encouraging sustained foreign investment and bilateral investment with "foreign partners." "This is a disturbing reference that denigrates the status of India as a sovereign country that has no 'foreign partners.' The finance minister shall explain who are these 'foreign partners' and has to drop the same from the budget speech," the SKM said.

The All India Kisan Sabha, which is also a member of the SKM, meanwhile in a statement said that FY 2023-24 and 2024-25 would be the years with the lowest spending on agriculture and allied activities in the last five years.

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"Even in the election year, the Union Budget 2024-25 (Interim) has nothing substantial to offer for the rural economy and the agricultural sector," it said.

"The budget presented by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman shows massive cuts in rural development, MGNREGA, rural employment, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, cooperation, food storage and warehousing, plantations, crop husbandry, flood control and drainage, land reforms, fertilizer subsidy, food subsidy, dairy development, soil and water conservation, irrigation, nutrition, rural roads, housing, education and health," the AIKS added. (With inputs from PTI) 

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Published February 1st, 2024 at 23:36 IST

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