‘Unplanned lockdown is worsening farmers’ condition’: Shashi Tharoor

The coronavirus lockdown has pushed India’s farmers in debt and has broken the supply chain, Congress MP and senior leader Shashi Tharoor said on Wednesday. Taking to Twitter, Tharoor said that the farmers’ condition is worsening due to the “unplanned lockdown”.

“The condition of our farmers is worsening thanks to the unplanned #lockdown & completely broken supply chain. Last harvest didn’t yield good monetary value since farmers unable to sell,” Tharoor’s tweet read.

The minister also added that the economic packages provided by the government have given nothing to the farmers. “They need help!” he posted.

Also read: Covid-19: Number of recoveries exceed active cases for first time

Tharoor called for the elimination of the middlemen who he said “are profiting at the expense of our sweat-stained farmers”.

“Why should they buy the farm products and exploit both growers and consumers?” he questioned.

The Congress leader said that the Food Corporation of India should purchase directly from farmers. The move will “give the aam aadmi cheaper food if parasitical middlemen are eliminated!” he said. Tharoor’s comments came on the sidelines of the Kisan Congress’ ‘Kisan Ke Bol’ social media campaign to raise the voice of the farmers.

Last month, while announcing the details of Rs 20 lakh crore economic relief package, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman focussed on funding big-ticket reforms in the agricultural sector.

The government recently amended the Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers, resulting in deregulation of prices for foodstuffs including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potatoes.

“Farmers can now export or store these commodities as they wish. These are our farmers’ demands pending for nearly 50 years now,” Union minister Prakash Javadekar said while making the announcement earlier this month.

“As a result of this, farmers will get good returns,” the minister said, adding that farmers will now be able to sell their produce anywhere and to the highest paying party.

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