Crucial to address challenges faced by farmers: PM Modi

Crucial to address challenges faced by farmers: PM Modi
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New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday lauded the efforts of the farming community in India, and reiterated the government’s mission to double their income and improve their situation in the country.

“Through the medium of this event, I have got the opportunity to simultaneously interact with the two most important parts of New India, that is, the farmers who provide food and the scientists who come up with the latest technology to ease operations. Our ‘annadata’ has brought us out of crisis, and today, India has achieved record production of pulses, record fruit, vegetables, and so on. The agricultural sector in our country has shown its way to the whole world in many respects but has faced many challenges. With a totality-related approach, our Government is constantly working towards doubling the farmer’s income, and making things easier for them,” he said while addressing the annual ‘Krishi Unnati Mela’ at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute here.

Lauding Meghalaya for breaking a five-year record in production, Prime Minister Modi said their efforts have shown that nothing is impossible, irrespective of size and population.

“I would particularly like to talk about Meghalaya here, which has been awarded separately, for their efforts. Farmers in Meghalaya have broken a five-year record of yields during the year 2015-16. I believe that when the goal is clear, it is not impossible to achieve anything if you work day and night. Our farmers are ready to face challenges to succeed in achieving their goals,” he said.

Highlighting the reduction in minimum support price (MSP) for farmers’ produce, Prime Minister Modi said the government is working closely with states to ensure that the full benefit of the same is given to farmers.

“The government has decided that for notified crops, MSP will be declared at least a half-fold. The costs for the MSP will be added to the value of other labour workers, their cattle or machine expenses, the value of the seed, the value of the compost, all costs of irrigation, the expense of irrigated land revenue, interest given above the working capital, rent provided for leased land, and other expenses. The value of the farmer’s contribution and the labour given by his family members will also be accounted for,” he said, adding that a balance needs to be achieved in terms of local and global market prices.

Talking about additional infrastructure to farmers, Prime Minister Modi stated that an arrangement is being developed such that a farmer will be able to commute to markets within a radius of 5-6 kilometres of his farm, thereby ensuring greater connectivity and sale of produce.

“The government’s effort is to make sure farmers do not have to go too far to sell their produce. Therefore, this year’s Budget has laid greater emphasis on the concept of retail in agriculture. Nearly 22,000 villages will be given an infrastructural upgrade and will be brought to the E-Nam portal,” he said.

For greater financial assistance, Prime Minister Modi reiterated that Farmer Producer Organisations, like cooperative societies, will be exempted from paying tax, so that farmers can associate themselves easily with markets to sell their produce.

He further noted that women’s self-help groups are being encouraged to collaborate with Farmer Producer Organisations to engage in organic, herbal and aromatic farming operations. (ANI)