Friday, February 19, 2010
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The Congress-led UPA Government has decided to implement a Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) regime and decontrol the prices of fertilizers. The move will have disastrous repercussions on the cultivating peasantry especially the small and marginal farmers who are already facing an acute agrarian crisis reflected in the fact that suicides by farmers have crossed the 2 lakh mark. It is also to be noted that this move by the Congress-led Government is coming in the context of unprecedented drought and floods that hit large parts of the country in quick succession leading to drastic reduction in acreage and output of major crops.
· The hike in urea prices by 10% will translate into an increase of nearly Rs.50/- per bag. This move will push farmers into further distress and is bound to adversely impact production of major crops, especially food grains.
· Prices of fertilisers have been decontrolled thereby allowing manufacturers to hike prices as they wish. Big players in the fertiliser sector will corner huge benefits at the expense of the poor farmers. Companies will have the sole right to decide the retail prices of subsidized fertilizers at the farm-gate level. Under the NBS regime the subsidy on nutrients and consequently subsidized fertilizers will remain fixed while the prices will be directly tied to exorbitant international prices.
· The proposal to go in for Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) has been unilaterally taken without consultation with the peasant organizations and political parties. The argument that farmers were using excessive urea because of its affordability is baseless and a move to shift the onus of soil degradation on the farmers alone. The systematic dismantling of extension services is not spoken about. Given the status of extension services the efficacy of the NBS regime is also questionable.
CPI(M) strongly condemns this anti-farmer move and calls upon the Government to withdraw the move immediately.