The Congress on Wednesday asked the government to announce a national farm loan waiver in the upcoming Union Budget and spell out measures to ensure that farmers’ income doubles by 2022.
Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan demanded reduction in GST rates on agriculture inputs to less than 5 per cent and said the government should announce measures like universal basic income to put more money in the hands of farmers and the poor so that their consumption increases.
He demanded that the government bring petrol and diesel under the GST regime as it would help provide relief to the farmers, who have been paying higher rates, and said the Centre had earned over Rs 13.5 lakh crore by way of taxes on petroleum products.
He said the government must tell how much has farmers’ income increased in the last five years under it, as part of its promise of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
“We want to know, as we are aware that nothing has happened so far. The budget should also provide a detailed outline of how to double farmers’ income by 2022 and what steps have been taken,” he told reporters.
Chavan said the government should announce a national farm loan waiver on the lines of the previous UPA government’s step undertaken in 2008 to benefit 14 crore farmer families in the country.
“We demand that the government should put more money in the hands of 95 per cent poor who live in rural areas and help improve consumption through schemes like MNREGA.
“The government should also bring a universal basic income scheme to ensure that there is direct benefit to people and money should go into their accounts directly to help improve consumption levels,” he said.