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‘Anyay kaal’ has caused real economic distress in India’s rural areas: Congress

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ''guarantees'', saying he had made a promise in 2017 to double farmers' income by 2022.

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The Congress on Tuesday claimed that there is ”real economic distress” in India’s rural areas and asserted that the single most important policy response to the ”crisis” is to kick start the agriculture sector with ”adequate and predictable” MSPs for agricultural produce.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ”guarantees”, saying he had made a promise in 2017 to double farmers’ income by 2022.

”A quick look at how the rural economy is performing: For the first time in over 50 years, real rural consumption expenditure fell by 8.8 per cent between 2011-12 and 2017-18. Between 2019-20 and 2023-24, the annual growth rate of real rural wages was negative for both agricultural (-0.6 per cent) and non-agricultural (-1.4 per cent) work.

”Tractor sales in India, a proxy for rural economic health, have seen a steep decline in key states in the west and south in the first 9 months of this fiscal year, dragging overall sales down 4 per cent. Tractor sales are estimated to decline 4-5 per cent year-on-year. Two wheeler sales, another indicator of upward mobility among India’s poor, were 22 per cent lower in 2022-23 than in 2017-18,” Ramesh said.

He claimed that the data across indicators is unambiguous that the ”Anyay kaal” has caused real economic distress in India’s rural areas, with declining real wages and declining consumption expenditure. ”The Prime Minister doesn’t give guarantees, he gives jumlas!” Ramesh said.

The single most important policy response to the rural distress crisis on our hands is to kick start the agriculture sector with ”adequate and predictable MSPs” for agricultural produce, he said.

”This is why the Congress’ Kisan Nyay agenda will make MSP a legal right for farmers and determine prices based on the formula suggested by the Swaminathan Commission. The Jumla Sarkar will award a Bharat Ratna to Dr. MS Swaminathan, but not implement his vision,” he said.

The Congress will fulfill his vision and deliver ”Nyay” to the farmers, he asserted.

”Now that the Prime Minister’s ‘warrantee’ is reaching completion, he is giving out these ‘guarantees’. The people are wiser than that!” Ramesh said.

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