TNC Desk, December 18
“Consultation for agricultural reform laws has been going for the last 20-22 years and these laws were not brought overnight. Farmers of the country, farmers’ organizations, agricultural experts, agricultural economists, agricultural scientists, progressive farmers of our country have also been continuously demanding improvement in the agriculture sector,” he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while referring to the recent discussion on the agricultural laws.
The Prime Minister continued that these reforms were not taken in real earnest even if they figured in the party manifestos. He said the agricultural reforms that have taken place now are not different from what was in discussion earlier.
The PM was addressing Kisan Sammelan held across Madhya Pradesh through video conferencing. He also inaugurated and laid foundation stone for cold storage infrastructure and other facilities.
The Prime Minister cited that the previous Governments did not implement the Swaminathan Committee report for over 8 years. Even the peasants’ agitation did not shake the consciousness of these people. These people ensured that their government does not have to spend much on the farmer.
He criticized the opposition that farmers are used by them for politics whereas his government is dedicated to farmers and considers farmers as Annadata.
Modi said the recommendations of the report of the Swaminathan Committee were implemented by this Government, giving MSP of one and a half times the cost to the farmers.
On debt waiver, the Prime Minister said it does not reach the small farmer who did not go to the bank, who did not take the loan. He said in the PM-Kisan scheme every year farmers will get about 75 thousand crore rupees, directly into farmers’ bank accounts. No leakage, no commission to anyone. He also described how the availability of urea improved due to neem coating and crack down on corruption.
The Prime Minister criticized that if the previous governments were concerned about farmers, then around 100 large irrigation projects in the country would not hang for decades. Now our government is spending thousands of crores of rupees to complete these irrigation projects in mission mode. He said that the Government is working to ensure water to every farm. He said that the government is equally promoting beekeeping, animal husbandry and fisheries along with grain-producing farmers.
The Prime Minister remarked that to promote fisheries, the Blue Revolution Scheme is operationalized. Some time ago, the Prime Minister Matsya Sampada Yojana was also launched. Due to these efforts, all previous records of fish production in the country have been broken.
He stressed that there is no reason for mistrust in the recent agricultural reforms done by the Government and there is no place for lies. He asked the people to ponder, why would the Swaminathan Committee report be implemented, if the Government intended to remove the MSP.
The Prime Minister remarked that MSP is announced before sowing to put the farmer at ease. He highlighted that even during the fight against the Corona pandemic, the procurement on MSP was done as usual. He assured the farmers that MSP would continue to be given like before. He stressed that the government has not only increased the MSP, but has also procured a lot more on MSP.
The Prime Minister recalled the time when the country faced a pulse crisis. Pulses used to be sourced from abroad amid outcry in the country. He said that his government changed the policy in 2014 and bought 112 lakh metric tonnes of pulses at MSP from farmers compared to procurement of just 1.5 lakh metric tonnes during the period of 5 years before 2014. Today, pulse farmers are also getting more money, pulses prices have also come down and have directly benefited the poor.
The Prime Minister clarified that the new law has given freedom to farmers to sell in the mandi or outside. The farmer can sell his produce where he would get more benefit. Not a single mandi was closed after the new law. He added that the government is spending more than Rs 500 crore on modernizing APMCs.
On contract farming, the Prime Minister clarified it has been in operation in our country for years. He said in contract farming, only crops or produce are transacted but the land remains with the farmer, the agreement has nothing to do with the land. Even if a natural disaster strikes, the farmer gets full money. The new law has ensured a share of windfall profits to the farmer.
He further promised to address the concerns of farmers who have apprehension even after these efforts. He said that the Government is ready to talk on every issue. The Prime Minister said he would again talk about this subject in detail on 25th December, on the birth anniversary of revered Atal ji. On that day, another installment of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi will be simultaneously transferred to the bank accounts of crores of farmers.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister stressed, no matter how hard the farmer works, if there is no proper storage of fruits-vegetables-grains, then the farmer is bound to suffer huge losses. He urged the business world to contribute in developing modern storage facilities, cold storage and setting up new food processing ventures. He said this will serve the farmers and in the true sense, serve the country.
The Prime Minister stressed that Indian farmers should have access to the modern facilities available to the farmers in the developed countries, it cannot be delayed any longer. He added in a rapidly changing global scenario, the situation in India cannot be accepted as the farmer becomes helpless due to lack of facilities and modern methods, it is already too late.