Taking a dig at his rivals for projecting him as anti-farmer, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a new crop insurance scheme named Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme in MP, which, he said, would effectively look into farmers’ needs affected by natural calamities unlike the one that existed during the UPA government.
The PM also announced launch of a national agriculture market on Dr BR Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on April 14 to help farmers get adequate prices for the agriculture produce.
Addressing a massive crowd of farmers drawn from across the state at Sherpur at the outskirts of Sehore town on Thursday, the PM said unlike the crop insurance policy during the UPA government the farmers could draw several benefits from it provided they came forward to opt for it.
In a bid to pay in kind and dub the then Congress led UPA government as anti-farmers the PM criticized it for its effecting changes in the crop insurance scheme introduced during the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. The changes, he alleged, made the farmers apprehensive and they started keeping away from the scheme.
“Now, not more than 20% farmers are willing to opt for the policy. Hence, the first and foremost priority is to restore the faith of farmers in the crop insurance scheme”, he added.
Underlining the efficacy of the new crop insurance scheme he said even those who did several experiments to dub him as anti-farmers were not in a position to criticize the scheme.
Underlining a contrast between the crop insurance scheme that existed during the UPA government and the present one he said whereas the previous government put a cap on payment to the farmers they put a cap on premium i.e. maximum 1.5% premium for Rabi Crop and 2% for Kharif crop and no cap on payment to farmers.
Making an appeal to farmers to avail themselves of the scheme as much as they could do he said even a single farmer would benefit from the scheme. The farmers would get 25% of the amount immediately and the documentation on the same would be lessened for the further payment. Also, it assured some relief to them even if they did not go for farming anytime due to a drought situation.
Announcing use of a blend of modern technology and traditional wisdom in the growth in the agriculture field Modi said a digital platform would be created for the farmers through a national agriculture market while linking all the 550 mandis of the country through an online network for the benefit of the farmers. The latter would be able to know about the rates of the agriculture produce at different places in the country on their smart phones and thus they could sell the produce at different places at higher rates instead of selling their produce at the nearby mandi.
He said when he assumed his office in 2014 he was told about the different figures regarding outstanding dues to be paid to the sugarcane growing farmers- from Rs 50000 crore to Rs 65000 crore. But after the measures taken by his government the amount of dues had come down to Rs 1000 crore till the last year.
Referring to UAE’s crown prince’s visit to India during which he sought help from India to meet the food requirement of his people after about 15 years Modi said farmers could get a world market by enhancing the agriculture production through several means and by launching a start up India and stand up India campaign in the field of agriculture too.
He said the central government, state governments, chief ministers, agriculture ministers and the farmers should take a resolution today that by the year 2022 when the country would be celebrating its 75 years of Independence the income of the farmers should be double.
Those who shared the dais with the PM include external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, minister for steel and mines Narendra Singh Tomar, minister for social justice Thaverchand Gehlot and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.