Modi government anti-farmer, says Congress leader
Congress senior spokesperson Ghulam Nabi Azad alleged the NDA government at the Centre was testing waters on its proposal to tax farmers by using officials and bodies to stir the debate on the issue.Updated: Apr 29, 2017 22:49 IST
The Congress on Saturday accused the Narendra Modi government of being “anti-farmer”, saying it will strongly oppose any move to tax farmers in the country.
Congress senior spokesperson Ghulam Nabi Azad alleged the NDA government at the Centre was testing waters on its proposal to tax farmers by using officials and bodies to stir the debate on the issue.
He said his party will launch an agitation across the country to oppose imposition of any more taxes on the country’s farmers who have already been under stress.
The Congress general secretary alleged that farmers of the country had paid “the biggest price” by electing the BJP government, which failed to fulfil any of the promises made to them ahead of elections.
Azad said recent statements have been made by chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian and Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy to tax farmers and it looks like the government was going ahead with the proposal.
“It seems this government is all set to impose such a tax. This is being deliberately raised by government functionaries to test the waters,” he said.
“The Congress rejects this proposition of taxing farmers and bringing agricultural income into the tax ambit. We will oppose this idea tooth and nail and will take on the government on every available public forum,” he said.
He said the Indian farmer is already burdened by debt, subsidy cuts and high indirect taxes and asked why the BJP government wants to increase their miseries by imposing another tax on them.
He alleged since the past 35 months, the BJP government has taken several anti-farmer steps, which includes “betrayal” of Prime Minister Modi’s solemn promise of ‘MSP +50 pc profit’ by waiving of import duty on food grains in order to benefit “his businessmen friends”.
He said this year’s economic survey advocated to levy taxation on agriculture and now important government functionaries were advocating that agricultural income should be brought under tax ambit.
“The complete apathy and insensitivity of the BJP government which is trying to impose tax on farmers through the backdoor is exposed by the fact that even though Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tried to contradict Debroy’s proposal, the CEA wholeheartedly supports taxing farmers,” he alleged.
Azad asked the prime minister and the finance minister on when the levy of excise duty and taxes on diesel which affected farmers the most would be removed.
“Farmers already are heavily taxed indirectly. Why does the BJP want an additional tax on their income now? The prime minister and the finance minister should answer this question,” he said.
The latest report from the National Crime Records Bureau (2015) states that 12,602 people involved in the farming sector have committed suicide in 2015,” he said, adding “Does the BJP think it is appropriate to tax such heavily debt- ridden farmers who have no choice but to die of hunger and commit suicide?”
First Published: Apr 29, 2017 22:48 IST