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Congress did little for farmers, villages: Arun Jaitley on protests

To increase the productivity of farmers and enhance their income, Arun Jaitley said the government has increased its expenditure on irrigation, animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries and research and education.

india Updated: Dec 04, 2018 19:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
farmers,villages,Arun Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government has increased its expenditure on irrigation, animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries and research and education. (PTI)

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday blamed the previous UPA regime for farmers’ woes, saying inadequacy of resources pumped into the agricultural sector by the Congress had led to an agrarian distress and a poor quality of life in rural areas.

In a Facebook post titled ‘India’s Rural Sector – A comparative study of the performance of the UPA and NDA Governments’, Jaitley said that at the recent massive farmers’ protest led by organisations “owing affiliation to several opposition parties and ultra-Left fronts”, farmers had accused the government of ignoring villages and the agricultural sector.

Countering the allegation, he said the Narendra Modi administration has planned a multi-pronged strategy to make farmers self-sufficient and farming remunerative rather than be dependent on state agencies, so as to improve the quality of life in villages.

To increase the productivity of farmers and enhance their income, Jaitley said the government has increased its expenditure on irrigation, animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries and research and education.

The minimum sale price has been increased on several specified products to ensure cost plus 50%.

The Modi government has set aside Rs 60,000 crore for MGNREGA, Rs 1.6 lakh crore for food subsidy, and doubled the amount sanctioned for interest subvention.

With respect to village infrastructure, the government has built 1.9 lakh kms of roads in rural areas in the last four and a half years, as compared to 3.8 lakh kms in the last 67 years, he said.

Very soon, every village will be connected with a pucca road, he said.

Jaitley said under the Modi government, electrification of rural households went up to 95%, rural sanitation moved to 96.72%, about 45 lakh houses are being built, 33.3 crore Jan Dhan accounts were opened, virtually linking every person to the banking system, cooking gas connections have been provided to 5.8 crore households and 13 crore households have been given the benefit of Mudra loans, of which 54% are women.

As many as 10 crore poor people would get the benefit of Ayushman Bharat where families can get treatment for specified diseases up to Rs 5 lakh per year at the cost of the government scheme.

He noted that the Congress-led governments had done much lesser in the past, almost half in some cases.

“Removing the agrarian distress and improving the quality of life in rural areas cannot be done by slogans alone. From 1971 onwards, the Congress policy was slogans and not resources,” Jaitley said, adding that the NDA has pumped in resources into rural areas.

“These resources have improved our infrastructure, are improving the quality of life of people, have increased agricultural productivity and are intended to give a remunerative price to farmers. The past four and half years is just the beginning,” he said, adding that in the next two decades such investment with annual increase, if continued, will help the government to provide a quality of life and infrastructure in rural areas which is more urban like.

First Published: Dec 04, 2018 19:17 IST