Narendra Singh Tomar
Under the leadership of our popular and visionary Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the nation is reaping a bountiful harvest from the all-out efforts exerted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Union Farmers Welfare over the past eight years. Several innovative initiatives taken by the ministry in the form of schemes and programs, to ensure government commitment and accountability, have resulted in the introduction of sweeping reforms in the direction and position of farmers and the agriculture across the country. The living conditions of the farmers are improving and the agricultural finance provided by the Center reaches them directly through bank accounts with complete transparency. Farmer income has increased in various aspects and a new surge is visible as farming has become a viable business proposition. Government schemes, programs and all other activities have always been geared towards this effort to empower farmers to become agricultural entrepreneurs.
Over the past 8 years, the budget allocation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare has been continuously increased and several programs have been put in place with the aim of making the agricultural sector favorable to farmers. The agricultural budget allocation in the current financial year at around Rs 1.32 lakh crore is a reflection of the central government’s devotion to the welfare of farmers. The budgetary allocation for agriculture has increased almost 6 times over the last 8 years. The development journey in the agricultural sector does not stop there. Apart from the increased allocation, the record production of food grains and horticultural crops is also evidence that the budget allocation is being spent in the right direction. According to the third advance estimate for the year 2021-22, the production of food grains is estimated at around 315 million tons, while the production of the horticultural sector is also estimated at 334 million tons, which is the highest ever. checked in.
Indeed, it is no small feat that amid the challenges of the Covid pandemic, India has provided food grains to many needy countries and even during the Russia-Ukraine crisis, India has once again become a major source of food grain supply. in the world. Not only is the production of food grains showing a steady increase in the country at an all-time high, but the exports of agricultural products are also steadily increasing, reaching almost Rs. 4 million.
Keeping in mind the better remuneration of farmers and their livelihoods, the government has continuously increased the minimum support price for Kharif, Rabi and other cash crops. As a result, the MSP for paddy rose to Rs. 1,940 per quintal from Rs. 1,310 per quintal in 2013-14. Similarly, in 2013-2014, the MSP for wheat was Rs. 1400 per quintal, which is now reduced to Rs.2015 per quintal.
During the Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) 2021-22, 433.44 lakh MT of wheat was procured by the government from the MSP, which is the highest on record. Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir have so far recorded the highest wheat purchases. The success story does not end here, the data also reveals that a sum of Rs 85,604.40 crore was credited to 49.19 lakh wheat farmers during the RMS directly to their bank accounts seamlessly.
Continuing its commitment to farmers, the government credited about Rs 1.82 lakh crore to about 11.5 crore farmers directly to their bank accounts under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Yojana (Total Rs.6,000 per year in three equal installments ). This program is one of the most comprehensive and important programs of the central government and also a symbol of dedication to farmers, in which there is no role for middlemen.
Responding to the government’s sincere efforts to improve soil health, the Soil Health Map has been provided to millions of farmers. Keeping soil health in mind, this program educates farmers on efficient and better farming techniques to achieve higher yield.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Modi, the government has made a special provision for organic farming as well as natural farming in the general budget this year. Within this framework, particular attention is paid to soil health with the aim of increasing farmers’ incomes through natural agriculture and the preservation of resources and the environment. In Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, work will be undertaken to bring an area of 5 km on both banks of the Ganges under natural agriculture through a comprehensive action plan .
The government’s thinking to promote natural agriculture does not stop there. The government has formed a committee under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to include curriculum related to natural farming in undergraduate and postgraduate education courses, and natural farming without chemicals is supported by the Ministry and ICAR. Keeping in mind the contemporary nature of natural agriculture, ICAR has issued special guidelines for agricultural universities to include research and related topics related to natural agriculture. Natural farming has been able to increase farmers’ incomes and is a symbol of the central government’s new thinking to ensure a better life.
Apart from various schemes and schemes, the union government’s dedication to farmers is also reflected in the rupees. 1,00,000 crore allocated to Agriculture Infrastructure Fund and government pledged to provide basic facilities such as Godowns, Custom Employment Centers, Primary Processing Units, Sorting and Grading Units and cold stores. Through these basic facilities, the government is committed to providing remunerative prices to farmers for their products.
In this series, the government under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-Governing India Campaign) is also giving special promotion to the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission. Similarly, through platforms and programs such as the National Agricultural Market (e-NAM), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Agricultural Mechanization and Cluster Development Program of MIDH, the government is committed to providing a maximum benefit to farmers.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, farmers are provided with insurance coverage in case of natural calamity. In order to involve more and more farmers in the crop insurance scheme, the “Meri Policy, Mere Haath” campaign was launched. The importance of the PM crop insurance scheme can be gauged by the fact that farmers have deposited around Rs 21,000 crore premium. while they were reimbursed Rs 1.15 lakh crore as crop damage claims.
Kisan Rail Scheme is another very important concept of PM Shri Modi for faster transportation of agricultural products, under which special trains run for the rapid movement of perishable agricultural products. This is a major illustration of the government’s commitment and credibility to farmers. The success of Kisan Rail can be measured by the fact that so far about 2,500 train trips have been made on about 175 routes across the country.
This year’s budget from the Department of Agriculture placed particular emphasis on agricultural startups and agribusiness. The work is done very quickly in this direction, and the results are also visible. Thanks to the farmer-friendly programs of the Indian government, it is high time for our agricultural sector to reach new heights. Many hopes and expectations are pinned on the agricultural sector, which the government under the leadership of our generous and able Prime Minister Shri Modi understands well and which is steaming towards its destination.
Currently, the government, together with the public, is celebrating “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” across the country. All the ministries and departments of the Center, the governments of the States and their organizations are mobilized to celebrate this great festival. In its continuity, the Ministry of Agriculture and Union Farmers’ Welfare, showing dedication to farmers, celebrated ‘Kisan Bhagidari, Prrathmikta Hamari Abhiyan’ with great enthusiasm from April 25 to 30. last. During this campaign, all departments of the Ministry of Agriculture, organizations and institutions under it including the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and about 725 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) across the country organized Kisan Melas, Kisan Sammelans, seminars, workshops, webinars, panel discussions, etc., which were enthusiastically attended by many labor and state ministers and other public officials, including MPs and MPs. This way, when the nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of independence, the country will have a bird’s eye view of the evergreen agricultural sector of Incomparable India. With this dream, we all move towards building AatmaNirbhar Agriculture – AatmaNirbhar India (Self-Reliable Agriculture – Self-Reliant India).
(The author is the Minister for Agriculture and Union Farmers’ Welfare)