BJP deplores UPA govt's Agriculture Policy, suggests six remedies

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New Delhi, Jan 28 (UNI) Expressing concern over the spate of suicides by farmers in various parts of the country, the BJP today strongly criticised the UPA government's Agriculture Policy and suggested six corrective measures, including quantum increase of public investment, in the agriculture sector.

In a Resolution adopted on the first day of the party's National Council meeting here, the BJP said banks should be directed to earmark 30 per cent of its total loans for credit to the agriculture sector.

The Resolution, moved by senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu, demanded the Centre to take immediate steps to see that farmers were given loans at not more than 4 per cent interest rate for agriculture and allied service and allow them to migrate their private loans to the banks.

Other suggestions included remission policy and write off loans of farmers up to Rs 50,000 as one-time measure, creation of an Agri Risk Fund, amendment to the Land Acquisition Act in consultation with states, implementation of the recommendations of the National Commission on Farmers, crop insurance for farmers be made friendly and mandatory for all states, and forest land 'pattas' for Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes).

Indirectly hitting out at the UPA government's SEZ policy, which led to violent protests in Singur and Nandigram, the BJP said the government should not acquire fertile, irrigated agriculture land for private sector and even for public sector without exhausting the option to acquire non-agriculture land.

The eight-page Resolution said the ''wrong policies'' of the successive Congress governments over the past five decades, particularly during the present Congress-led UPA regime, had led to unprecedented crisis in the agriculture sector with ''thousands of farmers regularly committing suicides''.

It said the Congress, which had made farmers a major election issue in 2004 had ''miserably failed'' to address all the challenges confronting the agriculture sector. ''Even UPA governments's Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has admitted that there was a serious threat to the food security in the country.'' More KAS/MCN HS GC2030

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