Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday released 20,946 crore rupees against 10.09 crore from farmers across India as the 10th financial assistance installment under the PM-KISAN program and said there needed innovation in agriculture as well as promotion of natural agriculture.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) program, a financial benefit of Rs 6,000 per year is granted to eligible farming families, payable in three equal installments of Rs 2,000. The PM-KISAN program has was announced in the February 2019 budget. The first installment covered the period from December 2018 to March 2019.
Addressing a virtual event for the release of the amount, Prime Minister Modi said that the program is a great support for the farmers and that the Center has transferred all the payments on time directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, without any involvement of intermediaries.
No one would have thought that India could achieve such a feat, he said.
“If we include today’s transfer, over Rs 1.8 lakh crore was transferred directly to farmers’ accounts under PM-KISAN,” he said, adding that the program had helped farmers buy good quality seeds and fertilizers.
On the occasion, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that around 20,900 crore rupees was transferred to around 10.09 crore of beneficiaries.
The event brought together up to nine chief ministers, several ministers from different states and representatives of agricultural institutions.
The Prime Minister also released a capital grant of over Rs 14 crore to around 351 Farm Producers’ Organizations (FOs), benefiting 1.24 lakh farmers.
He said small farmers are feeling the power of collective strength with the creation of POs as he listed five benefits of POs for small farmers – increased bargaining power, scale, innovation, risk management and adaptability to market conditions.
Thanks to FPOs, farmers are now able to buy inputs wholesale and sell their agricultural products at retail.
The government promotes FPOs at all levels and they receive aid of up to Rs 15 lakh. As a result, organic OPS, oilseed OPS, bamboo clusters, and honey OPS are emerging.
“Today our farmers are benefiting from programs like ‘One District One Products’ and markets, both national and global, are opening up for them,” said Prime Minister Modi.
Pointing out that the country still imports many products that Indian farmers can easily source, Prime Minister Modi said edible oil was an example and that a lot of foreign currency was invested for it.
PM Modi pointed out that the National Palm Oil Mission was launched with a budget of 11,000 crore rupees aimed at reducing imports of cooking oils.
Speaking of achievements in the agricultural sector in recent years, he said food grain production had reached 300 million tonnes despite the pandemic.
Horticultural and floricultural production reached 330 million tonnes. Milk production has also increased by almost 45 percent over the past 6-7 years.
The prime minister said the government also made record purchases of minimum support price (MSP) food grains. About 60 hectares of lakh land have been brought under micro-irrigation.
More than Rs 1 lakh crore was paid as compensation under the crop insurance scheme, while the premium received was only Rs 21,000 crore, he said.
Prime Minister Modi said the government has stepped up efforts to ensure that farmers earn their income from crop residues. Hundreds of units are set up to produce biofuel from crop residues. Ethanol production has grown from 40 crore liters to over 340 crore liters in the past seven years.
Regarding the Gobardhan program to promote biogas, he said that if there was value in cow dung, non-dairy animals would not be a burden on farmers.
The government has created the Kaamdhenu Commission and is strengthening the infrastructure of the dairy sector.
The Prime Minister has placed emphasis on the promotion of natural agriculture to a large extent. He said farming without chemicals is a major way to protect soil health.
Natural farming is a key step in that direction, he said, and called for making every farmer aware of the processes and benefits of natural farming.
He said that there is a huge demand for agricultural products without chemicals, and the cost of production is also lower.
The Prime Minister asked farmers to continue to innovate in agriculture. “We should not hesitate to adopt new crops and new farming methods.” He also called on farmers to strengthen the cleanliness movement.
During the event, the Prime Minister interacted with the FPOs of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand.
Interacting with the OPF of Uttarakhand, the Prime Minister inquired about the choice of organic farming by them and the modalities of certification of organic products.
The prime minister said the government has made efforts to widely promote natural and organic agriculture, as it reduces dependence on chemical fertilizers and improves farmers’ incomes.
An FPO in Punjab informed him of ways to dispose of Parali (crop residue) without burning. Modi stressed that their experience of managing Parali should be emulated everywhere.
An FPO from Rajasthan spoke about honey production, while the FPO from Uttar Pradesh explained how they help members with seeds and organic fertilizers. An FPO from Tamil Nadu said it was owned and operated entirely by women. FPO from Gujarat spoke about natural agriculture and how cattle farming can reduce expenses and stress on the soil.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)