Government dedicated to upliftment of farmers: Minister

By Sarkaritel December 12, 2014 10:42

Government dedicated to upliftment of farmers: Minister

New Delhi, Dec 11  The government Thursday said it was dedicated to the economic development of farmers.

“It is our aim to strengthen villages and farmers,” Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said replying to a discussion in the Rajya Sabha.

“The problems of agriculture are a result of faulty policies of past… now a poor man’s son is the prime minister. We will take the comforts of the city to villages,” the minister said.

“The Centre and states will have to come together… we also need to correct certain flaws in policies,” he added.

He said the central government has been calling meetings with state officials to ensure smooth implementation of agriculture schemes.

“We will try to sit with all state officials by January and ensure implementation of all agriculture-related schemes,” said the minister.

“Flow of loan for farmers is smooth, and for short-term loans the interest is four percent,” he said responding to the issue of high interest rates earlier.

The minister also said that a scheme for testing soil health has been rolled out.

“We have a scheme for soil health card. New laboratories are being set up. Farmer do not know how much fertiliser to put. Uncontrolled use of fertilisers has damaged land. In three years, soil health cards will be given,” said the minister, adding that “100 mobile soil laboratories will also be set up”.

He also said that irrigation projects will be expanded, and said that a new farm insurance policy will be brought soon.

“We will take water to all unirrigated areas. This is our government’s pledge,” he said.

Earlier, initiating the discussion on the issue, Congress leader Anand Sharma urged the government to formulate a national policy to protect the interests of farmers by increasing minimum support price (MSP) and supporting them to increase the country’s food production.

“Farmer suicides are taking place across the country… and you are giving loan on seven percent interest. We had waived loans of Rs.72,000 crore; government can waive the interest at least,” he said.

“It is a matter of national concern. Give farmers relief, increase the minimum support prices. Do you not have any responsibility? It is such a big crisis, and not a single statement has come from government,” he said.

Also hitting out at the government, Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said: “For paddy, minimum support price is Rs.1,360, and in the market, traders are buying it for Rs.900. It is not just about paddy, cotton, jute, every farmer is suffering.”

“Find a mechanism so that the prices given to farmers and the prices in the consumer market do not have a huge gap,” he said.

Yadav also suggested support to cattle rearing and encouraging food processing industry so that farmers get additional support.

Janata Dal-United’s K.C. Tyagi asked government to increase allocation for agriculture.

“You can allot Rs.70,000 crore for bullet train and the same budget has just Rs. 1,000 crore for agriculture… this will not help, increase allocation for agriculture,” he said.

“Encourage farmers by announcing rewards for high production,” he said.

BJP leader Ram Narayan Dudi however blamed the former government for the poor situation of farmers.

“Several commissions have been made. The Swaminathan Committee report said 50 percent of production cost should be given as bonus to farmer. But the report was thrown in waste paper basket. If the government had then taken action, the situation would not have been so bad,” he said.

By Sarkaritel December 12, 2014 10:42