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At farmer scheme launch, Modi says earlier govts only talked. Oppn retorts

The Prime Minister said previous governments made schemes on papers but did nothing for farmers’ empowerment.

india Updated: Feb 24, 2019 15:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Gorakhpur
Narendra Modi,Prime Minister Narendra Modi,PM Modi
Prime Minister Modi at the launch of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) in Gorakhpur on Sunday.(HT PHOTO)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted the previous governments and opposition parties as he launched the Rs 75,000 crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) - a cash-transfer scheme for farmers - in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur on Sunday.

Modi who started his speech by invoking former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s famous slogan “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisaan”, questioned the intention of earlier governments.

“Earlier governments talked lot, made scheme on papers but did nothing for farmers’ empowerment. Farmers were harassed and exploited,” he said.

He ticked off opposition parties for remembering farmers once in a decade.

“Congress, SP, BSP remember farmers once in ten years. They just misguide farmers to seek vote,” Modi said and added that the farm loan waiver announced by Congress state governments is a sham. “They made a hue and cry by giving Rs 52,000 crore in 10 years while the PM-KISAN scheme will disburse 7.5 lakh crore.”

Intended to benefit 12 crore farmers across India, the cash transfer scheme scheme proposes to give Rs 6,000 to farmers in three instalments annually. The Centre had announced the PM-KISAN in the interim Budget 2019-20 for 12 crore small and marginal farmers holding cultivable land up to two hectares.

Modi said he did not favour writing off loans because “loan waiver scheme would have benefitted Congress people.”

The PM said Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra had sent the list of farmers to whom money could be transferred under the scheme.

He warned state governments which did not send the list not to harass farmers. “Some state did not send the list. You warn them that politics with farmers will destroy you. You might have problem with Modi but not harass the farmers.”

Minutes after Modi launched the cash transfer scheme for farmers, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati called it “atrocious, arrogant” and an “insult” to farmers.

Mayawati said the annual payout of Rs 6000 to the farmers translated to Rs 500 per month or Rs 17 per day. This she said was a “pittance” and accused the BJP of merely doing lip service to the farmers.

“Rs 500 a month to poor farmers under is an insult. Farmers believe in their labour and want remunerative price of their produce but BJP mentality to give them little monetary help is atrocious and arrogant. BJP has failed to fulfil their promise,” Mayawati tweeted.

Her alliance partner, Akhilesh Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party also took to Twitter to say that “the farm crisis is a national crisis and needs a national solution, no poll-sop or individual state can implement change at this scale.”

Ahead of Modi launching the scheme, Congress leader and former Union finance minister P Chidambaram described it as a “bribe for votes” and said the “greater shame” is that the Election Commission is unable to stop it.

First Published: Feb 24, 2019 14:56 IST