News18 Exclusive | [email protected]: Government propelling farmers towards a golden agriculture sector, writes Union Minister Narendra Tomar

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Under the leadership of our popular and visionary Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the results of the comprehensive efforts made by the Ministry of Agriculture and Union Farmers’ Welfare over the past eight years are reflected in society. Many innovative measures have been taken by the ministry in the form of initiatives, schemes and programs which play a major role in improving the conditions of farmers.

Farmers’ standard of living is improving and agricultural aid from Delhi is reaching them directly through bank accounts with full transparency. Farmers’ income has increased, their thinking about accepting farming as a business has taken a new direction.

All government schemes, programs and activities ensure that farmers are interested in voluntarily becoming agricultural entrepreneurs.

The budget allocation of the past eight years, its substantial increase and more farmer-friendly agricultural policies are part of the government’s positive thinking and strong will.

The agricultural budget allocation for the current financial year is around Rs 1.32 lakh crore, a reflection of the central government’s honest thinking for the welfare of farmers. The budgetary allocation for agriculture has increased almost sixfold over the past eight years.

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The development journey in the agricultural sector does not stop there. Along with the allocation, the record production of food grains and horticultural crops is also proof that the government 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 estimated at 334 million tons, the highest level on record.

In truth, it is no small feat that amid the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, India has readily supplied food grains to many countries. Even during the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, India has become a major supplier of food grains to countries in need.

Not only is the production of food grains in the country showing a continuous increase at an all-time high, but the export of agricultural products is also increasing continuously, reaching nearly Rs 4 lakh crore.

In order to improve farmers’ incomes for better livelihoods, the government has continuously increased the minimum support price for Kharif, Rabi and other cash crops. During the year 2013-2014, the minimum support price for paddy was Rs 1,310 per quintal. It rose to Rs 1,940 per quintal. Similarly, in 2013-14, the MSP for wheat was Rs 1,400 per quintal and has now reached Rs 2,015 per quintal.

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During the Rabi marketing season in 2021-22, 433.44 lakh metric tons of wheat were procured by the government from the MSP, which is the highest supply on record. Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir have so far recorded the highest wheat purchases. The figures show that 49.19 lakh wheat farmers got Rs 85,604.40 crore in MSP during the season. Payment was made directly to their bank accounts seamlessly.

About 11.50 crore farmers received Rs.1.82 lakh crore under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Yojana. This program is one of the most comprehensive and important programs of the central government, and is also a symbol of loyalty to farmers without intermediaries.

In line with the government’s serious approach to soil health, soil health maps have reached millions of farmers. This program has and continues to educate farmers on efficient and better agricultural production results to achieve higher yields.

The government, under Prime Minister Modi, has made a special provision for natural farming in this year’s budget. In Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, an area of ​​5 km on both banks of the Ganges will be put under natural agriculture.

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The government’s plan to promote natural farming does not stop there. The government has formed an Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) committee to include materials related to natural agriculture in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching courses. Natural agriculture without chemicals is supported by the ministry and ICAR.

Adhering to the contemporary nature of natural agriculture, ICAR has issued special guidelines to agricultural universities to include research and research topics related to natural agriculture. Natural farming has the potential to increase farmers’ incomes and is a symbol of the central government’s creative thinking towards a better life.

It is the central government’s dedication to farmers that, along with improving their facilities, has been allocated under the Agricultural Infrastructure Fund. Farmers are served through large and comprehensive programs such as the Agricultural Infrastructure Fund and the government is conscious of providing basic facilities such as godowns, custom employment centers, primary processing units, sorting and grading units and cold stores for them.

The government is committed to providing farmers with a fair price for their produce through these basic facilities.

The government is also giving special promotion to the national beekeeping and honey mission under the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign. Likewise, through programs such as the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, and agricultural mechanization, the government is committed to providing maximum benefits to farmers.

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Under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, farmers are given security coverage in the event of natural disasters. To connect with more farmers, the “Meri Policy, Mere Haath” campaign was also launched. The importance of the PM crop insurance scheme can be gauged by the fact that farmers deposited about Rs 21,000 crore in premium, while they received Rs 1.15 crore in crop loss claims .

The Kisan Rail Scheme is a very important concept for the smooth transportation of agricultural products. It facilitates the operation of special trains for the movement of perishable agricultural products, another fine example of the government’s commitment to farmers. So far, around 2,500 trips have been made across the country on 175 routes.

This year’s Department of Agriculture budget placed particular emphasis on agricultural start-ups and agribusiness. Through its farmer-friendly programs, the Indian government will be able to take our agricultural sector to new heights in the future. There are many expectations and hopes in the agricultural sector. The government, under the leadership of our sensitive and competent Prime Minister, has understood this and is moving with all its might in this direction.

At present, the government, together with the people, is celebrating 75 years of independence or Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav across the country.

The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare celebrated the “Kisan Bhagidari, Prathmikta Hamari” campaign with great enthusiasm from April 25 to 30. During this campaign, all departments of the ministry, all institutions under it including ICAR, and more than 700 Krishi Vigyan Kendras spread across the country organized agricultural fairs, seminars and workshops. The events saw the enthusiastic participation of Central Ministers, MPs and MPs.

When India completes 100 years of independence, it can look back on the awe-inspiring sight of a golden agricultural sector. We are all heading towards building a self-reliant agricultural sector and a self-reliant India with this desire.

Narendra Singh Tomar is the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare in the Union. The opinions expressed by the author are personal

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