New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed Kisan Sammelan held across Madhya Pradesh through video conferencing on Friday, 18th December. He also inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for cold storage infrastructure and other facilities, according to a press statement from the Prime Minister’s Office. Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Modi said 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 businesses to contribute in developing modern storage facilities, cold storage, and setting up new food processing ventures. He said this will serve farmers and, in the true sense, serve the country.
The Prime Minister stressed that Indian farmers should have access to the same modern facilities available to farmers in developed countries, and said it cannot be delayed any longer. He added that 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, he said.
Referring to recent discussions on agriculture laws, the PM Modi emphasised that consultation for these agricultural reform laws has been going on for the last 20 years and said these laws were not enacted overnight. Farmers of the country, farmers’ organisations, agricultural experts, agricultural economists, agricultural scientists, and progressive farmers of the country have also been continuously demanding improvement in the agriculture sector, he said. The Prime Minister said these reforms were not taken in real earnest even if they figured in the party manifestos. He added that the agricultural reforms that have taken place now are not different from what was in discussion earlier.
Prime Minister Modi remarked that 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, he said, adding that these people ensured that their government does not have to spend much on the farmer. He criticised the opposition saying that farmers are used by them for politics whereas his government is dedicated to farmers and considers farmers to be “Annadata”. PM Modi said the recommendations of the report of the Swaminathan Committee were implemented by this Government, instating an 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 loans. He said in the PM-Kisan scheme every year farmers will receive about Rs. 75,000 crore directly in their bank accounts with no leakage, no commission to anyone. He also described how the availability of urea improved due to neem coating and crackdowns on corruption.
The Prime Minister remarked that if the previous governments were concerned about farmers, then around 100 large irrigation projects in the country would not hang for decades. He said his government is now 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, and said the government is equally promoting beekeeping, animal husbandry, and fisheries along with grain-producing farmers.
PM Modi remarked that to promote fisheries, the Blue Revolution Scheme has been operationalised. Some time ago, the Prime Minister Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) was also launched. Due to these efforts, all previous records of fish production in the country have been broken, he claimed.
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 the Swaminathan Committee report would 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 and highlighted that even during the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the procurement on MSP was done as usual. He assured the farmers that MSP would continue to be given as before, and said the government has not only increased the MSP but has also procured a lot more on MSP.
Prime Minister Modi recalled the time when the country faced a pulse crisis. Pulses used to be sourced from abroad amid outcry in the country, he said, stating 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 getting more money, pulses prices have come down and have directly benefited the poor, he said.
The Prime Minister clarified that the new laws have given the freedom to farmers to sell in the mandi or outside. The farmer can sell his produce where he would get more benefit, said PM Modi, observing that not a single mandi was closed after the new law. He added that the government is spending more than Rs. 500 crore on modernising APMCs.
On contract farming, the Prime Minister clarified it has been in operation in the 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, he observed, adding that the new law has ensured a share of windfall profits to the farmer.
The PMO stated that Prime Minister Modi 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 PM said he would again talk about this subject in detail on 25th December, on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. On that day, another installment of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi will be simultaneously transferred to the bank accounts of crores of farmers, he concluded.
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