Sunday, March 22, 2015

BKU's reaction to Prime Minister's "Mann Ki Baat"


"No assurance from Modi on crucial issues that are life & death issues for farmers": BKU

New Delhi, March 22, 2015: Reacting to the Prime Minister’s “Mann Ki Baat” speech on radio today, specifically addressing farmers of India, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) said it was disappointed by the long justification given on the Land Acquisition Amendments Bill that too based on false claims, while the PM did not touch on many other real issues that are life and death questions for farmers. These include fair and remunerative prices, disaster relief and compensation, farm incomes and so on.

“On the Land Acquisition Amendments Bill, the Prime Minister took credit for bringing 13 laws that were not under the purview of the 2013 Act, whereas the reality is that these were in any case to be brought under the Act in one year’s time when the 2013 Act was enacted by the UPA government. He further said that jobs would be provided to those affected, as per NDA’s amendment. What he did not mention was job commitment has actually come down from what the 2013 Act provided for: Under that Act, rehabilitation and resettlement award for each affected family included mandatory employment for the members of the family. The amendments change this provision to ensure compulsory employment to at least one member of such an “affected family of a farm labour” which means that the jobs commitment has actually come down from all affected families to families of farm labourers! With regard to compensation, no one is arguing that this government is bringing down the levels of compensation. Right from 2013, the argument around compensation is that circle rates, which are severely suppressed because stamp duty is evaded in this country, are not an adequate basis and that there should be a basis of assessing real market value of land, and compensation should be based on this. BKU also challenges the Prime Minister to provide proof for saying that his government is allowing farmers to cultivate acquired land even after acquisition – which clause of the Ordinance or Amendments Bill says this, BKU would like to see. While 5 categories of projects have indeed been exempted from Prior Informed Consent and Social Impact Assessment, the Prime Minister claimed that no dilution has been made to this clause. This is of course a wrong claim! It is to be noted the largest chunks of land get acquired within these five categories that have been exempted. We are disappointed that some media houses are claiming that the Prime Minister has clarified all the fears of farmer organisations – we want to point out that it is not the case and we are shocked at the Prime Minister’s so-called clarification”, said Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson, BKU.

BKU is also disappointed that the Prime Minister only expressed his sympathy for farmers who have incurred losses during the recent unseasonal rains and hailstorm in most states of India but did not announce any disaster relief and compensation which was eagerly awaited by all farmers of the country. BKU also reminded that the BJP which had promised remunerative prices in the form of MSPs that would be based on a C2+50% formula (50% living margin over Cost of Cultivation/Production) has been unfulfilled so far and the Prime Minister’s silence on the subject does not give any hope to farmers.

For more information, please contact:

Rakesh Tikait, National Spokesperson, BKU: +91-9219666799

Dharmendra Malik, BKU: +91-9219691168 

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