(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 28, 2010
CPI(M) Condemns Urea Price Hike
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party
THE Congress-led UPA government has decided to implement a Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) regime and decontrol the prices of fertilisers. The move will have disastrous repercussions for 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 two lakh mark. It is also to be noted that this move by the Congress-led government is coming in the context of an unprecedented drought and floods that hit large parts of the country in quick succession, leading to drastic reduction in the acreage and output of major crops.
● The hike in urea prices by 10 per cent 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 subsidised fertilisers at the farm-gate level. Under the NBS regime the subsidy on nutrients and consequently subsidised fertilisers 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 organisations 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.
The CPI(M) strongly condemns this anti-farmer move and calls upon the government to withdraw the move immediately.