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UP Budget: Sugarcane Farmers Disappointed, Remind PM Modi of His Promise of 'Doubling Income'

Farmers Organisations say the budget has nothing substantial to offer for the rural economy and agricultural sector.
Unions call Rs 20 hike in sugarcane price ‘insufficient’; BKU met with around dozen farmer leaders to take their feedback and find a solution.

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Flickr

Lucknow: Sugarcane farmers in the state were disheartened by the budget presented by Uttar Pradesh finance minister Suresh Kumar Khanna in the state Assembly on Monday for fiscal year 2024-25. The farmer unions said that the budget had nothing substantial to offer for the rural economy and the agricultural sector.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised in its 2022 Assembly election manifesto that it would provide free electricity to the farmers for irrigation but all those "promises remain unfulfilled." While presenting the budget last year, the government promised to fulfil the promise made during the election, but it was an "election gimmick." 

He also questioned the state government regarding sugarcane payment and compensation for unseasonal rains. He said sugarcane payment and compensation for unseasonal rains were visible only in figures and not on the ground.

Finance Minister Khanna said that from the year 2017 to January 29, 2024, a record sugarcane price payment of more than Rs 2,33,793 crore was made to about 48 lakh sugarcane farmers, which is Rs 20,274 crore more than the total sugarcane price of 22 years. For the crushing season 2023-2024, the price of the early variety of sugarcane has been increased from Rs 350/quintal to Rs 370, that of the normal variety from Rs 340 to Rs 360, and the price of the unsuitable variety has been increased from Rs 335 to Rs 355 per quintal. However, farmer leaders' have expressed disagreement with the announcement.

For the crushing season 2023-2024, the price of early maturing sugarcane varieties has been increased from Rs 350 to Rs 370, of common varieties from Rs 340 to Rs 360 and unsuitable varieties from Rs 335 to Rs 355 per quintal.

"It was expected that the price of sugarcane would be increased by revising the price, keeping in mind the cost of sugarcane in the budget, but this did not happen. No arrangement was made as to how sugarcane farmers should be paid. No new scheme was made for the development of farmers. The farmers selling their crops after suffering losses were expected to get relief from bank loans. Still, no provision was made in the budget for their loan waiver," Patel Shri Krishna Verma, state president of the National Kisan Shakti Organisation, said.

Farmer Tejinder Singh Teji of Lakhimpur Kheri said, "The farmer is disheartened with this budget. Farmers were expecting that the support price of sugarcane would cross Rs 400/quintal in the budget, but only a nominal increase of Rs 20 has been made."

State general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha, Mukut Singh, said that the government came to power promising to double farmers' income. Still, they are in dire straits, and the agricultural sector has been ignored. "Farmers had a lot of expectations from the election year budget this time. The farmers have been demanding an MSP (Minimum Support Price) guarantee for their crops. The government had promised that farmers' income would double by 2022, but the debt has increased instead of doubling the income. Efforts should be made to guarantee that farmers' crops are sold at good prices, not by giving them loans and pushing them into the quagmire of debt. As debt increases, suicide is the last option left for the farmer,” Singh said.

Echoing a similar view, the state general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union, Anil Malik, said that in the budget of the Uttar Pradesh government, the guarantee of purchase of crop MSP to farmers and free electricity for tube wells of farmers was not announced.

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