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Congress to find a solution for farmers' suicides
Sharat Pradhan in Nainital | September 22, 2006 19:20 IST
The two-day Congress chief ministers' conclave at Nainital will discuss the plight of the farmers and device ways to prevent further suicides in the community.
Among the issues to be discussed are agriculture credit, marketing, infrastructure and overall agriculture reform.
The meet would also take up matters related to the nation's internal security, together with an 'informal discussion' on forthcoming elections in certain states.
All India Congress Committee general secretary Satyavrat Chaturvedi said, "Since agriculture is this country's backbone and the larger chunk of the population depend on it, the Congress naturally wished to devote its special attention to agriculture and the country's farmer."
Even as he denied that the conference was prompted in the wake of a spate of suicides by starving farmers in south India, Chaturvedi admitted, "The issue of suicide by farmers certainly figures very high on our list of priorities and we hope to thrash out some concrete solutions so that we can prevent them from taking the extreme step on account of financial distress."
He said the meet was aimed at evolving a strategy to ensure a growth of at least 4 per cent in the agricultural sector. "So far, the agriculture growth was just about 2.5 per cent; however with a target of 10 per cent GDP growth in the coming year, we need to take the agriculture growth to at least 4 per cent," he sought to point out.
"In a way, this meet would go a long way to prepare an agriculture policy draft," he added.
Talking about the complexities of the agriculture sector, the AICC spokesperson said, "The problems related to the agriculture sector are not simple. One has to strike a balance between ensuring a remunerative price to the farmer and avoiding any major burden on the consumer."
Asked how it would be practically feasible to work out any policy draft without the presence of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who was not a Congressman, Chaturvedi quipped, "Well, Pawar is the head of Nationalist Congress Party, a constituent of the ruling UPA government. But this is not a UPA meet, so how can we have him there."
He hastened to clarify, "But we will have a team of agriculture experts led by S S Sujrewala, who also heads the AICC Farmers and Farm Labour Cell."