Taking to task opposition parties for misleading farmers in the name of ‘farmers’ agitation’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the opportunity of disbursing the latest installment of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi and advised the Opposition, especially the Congress and left not to indulge in such petty politics.
The event, held on 25 December 2020, which also marks the birthday of Bharat Ratna Atal Behari Vajpayee, saw the disbursal of ₹18 thousand crore directly in the bank account of more than 9 crore farmer families across India. Since the inception of the scheme, more than ₹1.1 lakh crore rupees have reached the account of farmers, noted the PM, while lamenting the dirty politics of the opposition.
Taking the Trinamool Congress head on, PM Modi expressed regret on the fact that more than 70 lakh farmers West Bengal have not been able to get this benefit. “More than 23 lakh farmers of Bengal have applied online to take advantage of this scheme. But the state government has stopped the verification process for so long,” the PM lamented, questioning the hypocrisy of Mamata Banerjee with respect to the phone call photo ops done recently.
Further taking on the Left parties, whose fronts are leading the ‘farmers agitation’, PM Modi questioned their credibility, noting how parties which do not speak in the interest of farmers in West Bengal come here in Delhi and talk about the farmer. “These parties are missing a lot of APMC-mandis nowadays. But these parties repeatedly forget that there is no APMC-mandis in Kerala. These people never agitate in Kerala,” the PM took strong exception to the hypocrisy of these political fronts.
Modi Government, a Pro-Farmer Government
Noting the various steps being taken by his government, PM Modi highlighted the efforts being undertaken to double farmers’ income. “We worked by aiming to reduce the input cost of the farmers of the country. Soil Health Card, Neem Coating of Urea, Scheme for Millions of Solar Pumps started. The government tried to make the farmer have a better crop insurance cover. Today, crores of farmers are getting benefit of PM crop insurance scheme,” the PM told the audience plugged in via live stream.
“Our government tried to ensure that the country’s farmer gets a fair price for the crop. According to the report of the long-standing Swaminathan Committee, we gave one and a half times the cost to MSP farmers. Earlier, MSP was available on only a few crops, we also increased their number.”
Noting the efforts to aid marketing as well, PM Modi pointed out that his government also moved in the direction that the farmer should have not only a market but a new market to sell the crop by adding more than a thousand agricultural mandis of the country online. Among these, more than one lakh crore rupees have been traded.
“We made another goal to form groups of small farmers so that they can work as a collective force in their region. Today, a campaign is underway to create more than 10 thousand Farmers Producer Associations-FPO in the country, financial assistance is being given to them,” the PM told the audience.
Also noting how the poverty of farmers has been addressed through other schemes, the PM stated efforts undertaken successfully by the government to alleviate stresses from farmers’ lives. “Today, the farmer of the country is getting his pucca house, getting toilet, getting clean water tap. This is the farmer who has benefited greatly from the free connection of electricity, free connection of gas. Free treatment up to 5 lakh rupees under Ayushman Bharat scheme has reduced the major concern of his life,” the PM said.
Reiterating his Support to Agri Reforms, Calling for Dialogue
Prime Minister Modi once again put his full weight behind the agriculture reforms by stating its benefits.
“Through these agricultural reforms we have given better options to the farmers. After these laws you can sell your produce to whomever you want. You can sell produce where you get the right price,” the PM said.
“Do you want to sell your produce at MSP? You can sell it. Do you want to sell your produce in the market? You can sell. Do you want to export your produce? You can export. Do you want to sell it to the merchant? You can sell.”
Do you want to sell your produce in another state? You can sell it. Do you want to sell produce together through FPO? You can sell it. Do you want to be a part of the value chain of biscuits, chips, jam, other consumer products? You can also do that,” the PM told the audience.
“Today, every farmer knows where he will get the best price for his farm produce. With these farm reforms, farmers can sell their produce to anyone anywhere. What is wrong if the farmers are being benefitted?” PM Modi addressed the farmers.
Urging on the need for reform, PM Modi noted that while his government increased investment and innovation in other sectors, the time has come for Brand India to establish itself in the agricultural markets of the world with equal prestige. Assuaging concerns on monopolization, PM Modi quoted the example of the dairy sector’ success. “In many parts of the country, agreement farming has been tried. It has been done in the dairy sector. So far, have you heard that a company has monopolised the dairy industry?” PM Modi noted, pointing to the benefits arising from such steps taken earlier.
“In such a situation, farmers across the country have fully supported and welcomed the agricultural reforms. I thank all the farmers, and I assure you that we will not let your faith fall,” PM Modi reached out to the farmers, stating his solid support for their interests.
He also counted the results of the recently held Panchayat polls in Assam, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, and the support received by the BJP as an endorsement for the reforms. In a way, (the farmers) have rejected all the parties that mislead farmers,” Mr. Modi told the audiences.
Reaching out once again to the protest groups, PM Modi stated that given his government’s commitment towards farmers, they are ready for discussions on all their issues with an open mind.