UPA’s policies will cause more farmers’ suicides: CPI-M


Udaipur (Tripura) : The global economic recession, drought in large parts of India, the government’s economic policies and the trade pact with ASEAN would lead to more suicides by farmers, a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader says.

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The UPA government did not learn a lesson from the global economic slowdown and now, with 252 of the country’s over 600 districts severely affected by drought, agricultural produce would decline by 20 percent and farmers and agricultural labour would be the worst sufferers, said S. Ramachandran Pillai, a politburo member.

“Since 2004 when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government came to power, over 200,000 have committed suicide in 12 states, mostly ruled by the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),” Pillai late Friday told a gathering of farmers in the south Tripura district town, 55 km south of Agartala.

The gathering was organised in connection with the 18th state conference of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), which Pillai heads.

Terming the India-ASEAN trade agreement “harmful”, Pillai said that productivity of crops in the other ASEAN countries was higher and cost of production was less than India.

“The Indian farmers would suffer a great loss when the pact would become operational Jan 1 next year,” he said, adding India would be in a deficit situation due to the free trade agreement, signed Aug 13 in Thailand by Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and his ASEAN counterparts.

Pillai demanded more government investment in agricultural and allied sectors, increased irrigation facilities, more remunerative price for the crops, lowering prices of farm inputs and strengthening agricultural infrastructure to make the sector a viable venture.

Addressing the meeting, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar charged the Congress with taking away even the “very little powers” given to the states by the constitution.

“Tripura would be self-reliant in various food production despite the centre’s very limited support,” said Sarkar.