Congress instigating farmers, says agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh on MP protests
Radha Mohan says just like the Congress was ‘punished’ post demonetisation, farmers will penalise the party for hurting their interests.india Updated: Jun 18, 2017 07:56 IST
Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh has accused the Congress of instigating the protesters who took to streets against the killing of five farmers in police firing in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur earlier this month. Just like the Congress was ‘punished’ post demonetisation, farmers will penalise the party for hurting their interests, he said in an interview to HT.
How worried are you about the farmers’ agitation in Madhya Pradesh and also in other states such as Rajasthan and Maharashtra?
What happened in MP was unfortunate but you must have seen how Congress legislators and leaders are fuelling it. This kind of politics is not in farmers’ interest. Since Modi government took over, it has invested a lot in empowering farmers. As results of the Centre’s initiatives are becoming visible, our opponents have become worried that their shops would be closed.
Are you suggesting that farmers have no grouse and your political adversaries are entirely behind these agitations?
They (adversaries) tried to instigate the poor over demonetisation but they (the poor) saw through their game and punished them. Similarly, if they do politics with farmers to serve their political interests, the farmers will punish them. The (Central) government has done a lot for farmers, to increase their income by bringing down input costs. Be it the introduction of soil health cards and neem-coated urea, encouragement to organic farming, micro-irrigation and allied activities such as animal husbandry, pisciculture and bee-keeping, Modi government has invested a lot to empower them. Due to soil health cards, there has been 3.59 % reduction in the consumption of fertilizers in 2016-17 as against last year.
Do you consider farm loan waivers, as announced in UP and Maharashtra, as part of this empowerment? This has put BJP governments in other states on a sticky wicket.
Our focus is to empower farmers and we are investing a lot in schemes that will bring down their input cost and increase their income.
The Centre’s decision to ban sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets is likely to affect the farmers adversely. They cannot sell them even after they stop producing milk. What’s your stance on it?
We are taking steps to ensure that farmers get money from cow urine and cow dung after it stops giving milk. For instance, under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission, we have set up 14 gokul grams in states to conserve and develop indigenous breeds of cows, make organic manure and vermin-compost and use cow urine to make medicines.
How do you propose to fulfil your promise to double farmers’ income by 2022?
We have constituted a committee to suggest measures to achieve it. We have already received some reports and we are acting on them. We are focusing on irrigation and making provision for quality seeds and nutrients based on soil status. We are making investments in cold chains and focusing on water use efficiency. We have also prepared a three-year road map for development of agriculture sector to double the income of farmers. We are focusing on marketing, storage and development of post-production infrastructure. The coverage of crop insurance will also be increased from 30% of gross cropped area to 40% in 2017-18 and 50% in 2018-19. Various schemes related to animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries have been started to increase productivity of these sectors and to ensure remunerative prices of the produce.