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Anna Hazare Breaks Fast After Government Assurance

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Anna Hazare finally breaks his fast after government assurance. IANS
Anna Hazare finally breaks his fast after government assurance. IANS
  • Anna Hazare called off his hunger strike after government’s assurance
  • He fasted in Delhi’s Ramlila Ground
  • He fasted against unfair crop prices, electoral policies and Lokpal appointments

Social activist Anna Hazare on Thursday called off his hunger strike in support of his demands as the Central government sought six months to deal with his demands on fair crop prices, Lokpal appointment and electoral reforms.

Anna Hazare wants government to finish corruption completely and take steps in the right direction. Wikimedia Commons

“The government has agreed to demand on crop prices and agreed to take steps on the appointment of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in the states as soon as possible,” Hazare said as he announced that he was going to break his fast.

Hazare said he had been assured regarding the new electoral reforms and implementation of the M.S. Swaminathan Committee report to address the agrarian crisis in the country.

Also Read: Anna Hazare to initiate mass awakening through his Jan-Jagran Yatra

“The governments are meant for the public and it is government’s responsibility to provide the best service to its people,” he said.

Anna Hazare raised his voice against corruption and went ahead with his hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Anna Hazare has also raised his voice against corruption and went ahead with his hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi earlier. Wikimedia Commons

Hazare launched his agitation in support of his demands at the Ramlila Maidan here on March 23. Earlier, he had launched a movement against corruption in 2011. IANS

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With The Elections Coming Up, Indian Government Promises Farmers Their Income Support

The government said the fiscal deficit this year will rise from 3.3 percent to 3.4 percent due to the outlay for the income scheme for farmers.

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Farmers, India
An Indian woman helps her farmer husband irrigate a paddy field using a traditional system, on the outskirts of Gauhati, India, Feb. 1, 2019. VOA

With an eye on wooing voters ahead of what is expected to be a tough national election, India’s Hindu nationalist government announced cash handouts of billions of dollars for poor farmers.

In the annual budget presented in parliament Friday, interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said 120 million farmers with less than two hectares of land would get an income of $85 a year.

Goyal announced that the measure, which will cost about $10.5 billion, would be implemented with immediate effect. “This will pave the way for them to earn a respectable living,” he said. “Such support will help them avoid indebtedness.”

India, Farmers
Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, center, holds a briefcase containing federal budget documents with Junior Finance ministers Shiv Pratap Shukla, center right, and Pon Radhakrishnan, left, upon their arrival at the parliament house in New Delhi, India, Feb. 1, 2019. VOA

Farmers complain that a sharp decline in crop prices has hurt their incomes and driven millions into debt. Rural experts said they were not sure whether the measure will assuage disgruntled rural communities that have been demanding loan waivers and better prices for their produce.

The government also announced a pension scheme of about $40 a month for nearly 100 million poor workers in the country’s vast unorganized sector and tax breaks for the middle classes.

The welfare measures come as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party tries to address rising discontent in the country — there is growing anger in rural areas over falling crop prices and widespread worries that his government has failed to create jobs to meet the needs of the country’s huge young population.

The Bharatiya Janata Party recently lost elections in three heartland states, raising concerns it could struggle to win a majority in the upcoming elections. Modi had sailed to power in 2014 on the promise of creating millions of jobs.

Modi, India, Farmers
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, is garlanded by BJP leaders on the first day of the two-day Bharatiya Janata Party national convention in New Delhi, Jan. 11, 2019. VOA

Although economic growth numbers have been good, lack of jobs has emerged as the biggest challenge for Modi. A report in the Business Standard newspaper says a government survey that has not been released pegs the unemployment rate at a 45-year high of 6.1 percent.

Expressing optimism that “India is solidly back on track and marching towards growth and prosperity,” Goyal said that infrastructure projects such as building roads in rural areas will boost employment.

The opposition Congress Party slammed the income support of $85 a year announced for farmers as inadequate. Saying that it is not going to be transformational, senior party leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “₹6000 [6,000 rupees, or $84] in income support for farmers boils down to ₹500 [500 rupees, or $7] per month. Is that supposed to enable them to live with the honor and dignity?”

Also Read: Twitter Searching For ‘A Unique Leader’ To Take Indian Operations To Next Level

The Congress Party is also trying to woo voters with the promise of a minimum income for the poor if it wins the upcoming general election. The BJP has dismissed the pledge as unaffordable, while economists have expressed concern that the “competitive populism” by India’s two main parties ahead of general elections could strain the country’s finances.

The government said the fiscal deficit this year will rise from 3.3 percent to 3.4 percent due to the outlay for the income scheme for farmers. (VOA)