Telangana Chief Minister Chandrashekar Rao writes to Prime Minister Modi, faults Centre’s agricultural policies, especially on fertilizer and fuel

Published : January 13, 2022 21:17 IST

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao at a protest against the Centre’s paddy procurement policy, in Hyderabad. Photo: The Hindu

He said the Centre’s threat of ushering in reforms in the agriculture electricity distribution sector by fixing energy consumption meters was causing "anxiety" among farmers.

In a continuation of his battle with the Union government, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi faulting the Centre’s policies, especially on fertilizer and fuel, for the plight of farmers in the State.

The Chief Minister stated that the Centre’s policies had contributed to a steep rise in the cost of cultivation. He highlighted the promotion of mechanisation in the agricultural sector, and the resultant manifold increase in fuel consumption, as one of the reasons for the increased costs. He accused the Centre of "indiscriminately" imposing cess on petrol and diesel despite no perceptible increase in the international/import price of crude oil.

Chandrashekar Rao pointed out that the Centre’s threat of ushering in reforms in the agriculture electricity distribution sector by fixing energy consumption meters was causing a great deal of "anxiety" among farmers.

The Telangana Chief Minister has been particularly critical on the Centre’s recent controversial proposal to increase fertilizer prices. Alleging that the Centre had turned a "blind eye" to the increasing prices of fertilizers during the last six years even while encouraging States to take up campaigns to reduce use of urea and DAP (Diammonium phosphate), the Chief Minister said: "I request the Government of India to ensure that cost of fertilizers is maintained at the present level and additional costs, if any, to be absorbed by the Government of India so that farmers are not burdened." According to him, the retail prices of the commonly used non-urea fertilizers — Muriate of Potash (MoP) and Gromor (28.28.0 variant) — have increased more than 50 per cent and 100 per cent respectively in the past three months.

Criticising the Modi government for "defaulting" on its promise to double farmers’ incomes by 2022, Chandrashekar Rao added: "In February 2016, the Centre had announced that it would double farmers’ income in six years, by 2022. Despite passage of over five years, no specific or structured programme has been initiated in this direction. Contrary to the policies of doubling the income of farmers, all the input costs of agriculture had doubled in the last few years and their revenue has declined."

Stating that the Modi government had "no reliable mechanism" to ensure a price guarantee for crops, Chandrashekar Rao said that all that the Centre was capable of accomplishing was announcing a minimum support price (MSP) and procuring small quantities of farm produce. He refuted the Centre’s claim of fixing MSP at 150 per cent of the cost of production of agriculture crops, terming the statement as "misleading".

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