‘Mission Uttar Pradesh’ How can farmers afford drones if they aren’t getting basic prices for their produce? : SKM
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a forum of agrarian unions condemning the Modi government’s agriculture policies, has announced ‘Mission Uttar Pradesh,’ a direct campaign against the governing BJP in the state’s ongoing assembly elections, urging farmers to vote out the Yogi-led administration.
Manipur votes on February 28 and March 5, while Goa and Uttarakhand vote on Monday. On February 20, Punjab will go to the elections. The second phase of the seven-phased UP poll was also held on Monday.
Leaders of the SKM, including Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav, and Hannan Mollah have held a series of press conferences in which they claim the Modi administration deceived farmers by making empty promises. They also claimed that the latest Union budget sharply slashed farm subsidies and provided no relief to the farming sector.
‘They are using the hijab problem as a diversion, but the true issue is hisaab (accountability),’ agricultural leader Rakesh Tikait said at a news conference in Lucknow on Monday, referring to a dispute in the southern state of Karnataka over schoolgirls wearing the hijab.
Tikait said that, despite a formal pledge on December 9, the Modi administration had failed to deliver any of its promises to farmers, prompting the SKM to call off its 13-month-long protest in several states.
Tikait stated that the government had committed to consult farmers on the topic of minimum support prices, to dismiss over 46000 charges brought against protestors, and to compensate farmers who were slain during the protracted agitation. ‘Not a single promise has been kept. As a result, the BJP must be defeated in these elections ‘Tikait said.
The government’s position is that it cannot form a committee while assembly elections in five states are being held; these elections were announced on February 4. In response to a question during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar stated that the Centre will form a committee on minimum support price (MSP) once the assembly elections in five states were completed. According to him, the Centre wrote to the Election Commission (EC) and was directed to announce the establishment of the committee after the assembly elections.
In an interview, Union Home Minister Amit Shah stated, ‘After the elections are finished, the government would not need to seek permission from the electoral commission, and the committee may be constituted after dialogue with everyone else.’
According to the SKM, it analyzed the BJP’s electoral manifesto and blamed that the party just restated empty promises made five years before.
After nearly 14 months of massive agitation by peasants, the Modi administration repealed three farm-reform policies in December 2021. The three laws were the core of the Modi government’s agriculture sector reforms, which employ about half of all Indians.
The agricultural ministry’s allocation increased marginally from ₹123017.57 crores in Budget 2021-22 to ₹124000 crores in 2022-23. In addition, the budget advocated the use of drones and digital technology to boost farm revenue. ‘How can farmers afford drones if they aren’t getting basic pricing for their produce?’ Hannan Mollah, another SKM member, mentioned.