New Delhi: Concerned over the agrarian crisis engulfing almost half of the country, Congress on Thursday demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi call a meeting of Chief Ministers of drought hit states to tackle the situation on war footing.
Reminding the Prime Minister of his "Raj dharma", the party also wanted MGNREGA works to be taken up immediately in the three lakh affected villages and implementation of the National Food Security Act in the drought hit states.
Party's chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala told reporters that the rural crisis could be gauged from the fact that the spate of "farmer's suicides has increased to an average of 52 deaths per day."
Besides, he said the agriculture growth rate is down to 0.2 per cent from 3.7 per cent two years back.
The resultant effect is large scale migration, farmer's suicides, drinking water rationing, food shortages and a huge rural crisis, he said.
Targeting the Narendra Modi dispensation, he asked the Prime Minister and his government to "rise from its slumber" as the grave agrarian and drinking water crisis has hit hard nearly 40 per cent of India's population. He said over 33 crore people in 2,55,000 villages in 10 States are reeling under severe drought.
He said if Bihar, Uttarakhand and Gujarat, which are also facing drought like conditions is taken into account, as much as 48.27 crore people are hit by agrarian and water crisis.
Alleging that rural distress has been accentuated manifold on account of systematic undermining of MGNAREGA by Modi government, he said this could be gauged from the fact that in 2015-16, only 1.8 per cent households covered by MGNAREGA got 150 days of employment in the 10 drought-hit States.
"Modi government is, completely oblivious to the crisis and has only responded after Supreme Court of India has intervened in the matter and is issuing day-to-day instructions to deal with the drought conditions. This by itself reflects complete abdication of duty by Modi government", he added.