Thanking the President’s speech for showing the roadmap in a very difficult time globally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among other things, set the record straight on the farmers’ issue. He explained the fundamentals of the present churn through Big Farmers and Small Farmers divide, and illustrated how the agitating voices represent the interests of a few big farmers. In contrast, he noted how the reforms are poised to bring benefit to a large number of small farmers.
Big Farmers VS Small Farmers
PM Modi noted that the opposition talked much about farmers’ protest but never touched upon the reasons driving these protests or bothered to answer questions posed by the agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar. Barring some members like former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda acknowledged the measures taken by the government, there has been a notable silence from most members in the opposition.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled the statement of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh who had said that small farmers should be accounted for government’s facilities. Driving this point home, the Prime Minister explained the contradictions and ironies that laced this big farmer versus small farmers dichotomy.
- Loan waiver schemes that were brought out for electoral benefits did not help small farmers, because the later didn’t have bank accounts to begin with. In contrast, the Modi government’s schemes like PM Kisan and Kisan Credit Cards are meant for small farmers.
- Urea, water all were available to big farmers. Now the schemes are making this available to small farmers.
- NDA’s other schemes also help farmers. For example- the PM Gram Sadak Yojana. When rural road connectivity improves, it enables the produce of the farmers to reach distant places. There are other efforts like Kisan Rail and Krishi Udan too. The need of the hour is to improve the lives of the small farmers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement wherein he had demanded a change in the market regime of agriculture so that farmers can sell their produce to anyone. PM Modi said in a lighter vein, “Why don’t the opposition take pride that Modi is forced to do what Manmohan had proposed?”
Sharad Pawar ji, and those from Congress, everyone… all governments have stood for agricultural reforms. Whether they were able to do it or not, but everyone has advocated that it should be done: PM Narendra Modi in Rajya Sabha pic.twitter.com/KzVsYultim
— ANI (@ANI) February 8, 2021
PM Modi took the example of dairy sector, where cooperative and private players are involved and there has been great growth. He said, just like milk is sold in the diary sector and not the cattle, private participation in agriculture is for selling crop and not the land of the farmers.
He asserted that “MSP was in existence, it is in the present, and it will also continue in the future. The subsidised distribution of grains through Public Distribution System.”
MSP was there.
MSP is there.
MSP will remain in the future.
Affordable ration for the poor will continue.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) February 8, 2021
He urged all parties to support the reforms that everybody had accepted as inevitable at one or other point in time. and said that interaction with farmers for the peaceful resolution of the agitations is still on.
Taking a Swipe at the ‘Aandolan Jeevi’
Speaking on farmers’ issue, PM Modi presented an interesting take on two trends. He said that we are aware of tribes like shramjeevi, buddhijeevi. But a new crop which is ‘Andolanjeevi’ has come up. “They want to harness whatever agitation that is going on whether it is lawyers’ or farmers’ or other groups. They are the parasites that need agitations for the livelihood and even the different governments belonged to opposition parties have also saw the antics of such Andolanjeevis and the country should be cautious about such elements,” PM Modi spoke rather forcefully.
He said, while Foreign Direct Investments are welcome for the growth, another kind of FDI, which is ‘Foreign Destructive Ideology’ is what the country should be cautious about.