Modi defends new farm laws, lashes out at Opposition for 'misleading' farmers
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at the launch of the seventh instalment of the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme -- a direct benefit transfer scheme for farmers, where more than Rs 18,000 crore was transferred to over nine crore beneficiary farmer families, in New Delhi on December 25, 2020.IANS

Modi defends new farm laws, lashes out at Opposition for 'misleading' farmers

New Delhi, December 25, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today stoutly defended the three new farm laws and lashed out at the Opposition for "misleading" the farmers, thousands of whom were on a protest at Delhi's borders for a month now.

Speaking after releasing an instalment of financial beneis under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, through video conference, Modi said these agricultural reforms had provided more and better options to the farmers.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today released the next instalment of financial benefit under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi through video conference.

More than Rs 18,000 crore was deposited directly in the bank accounts of more than 9 crore farmer families in the country at the click of a button under the Kisan Sammann Nidhi.

The Pime Minister said that, since the scheme had started, more than Rs 1.10 lakh crore had reached the accounts of farmers.

Speaking about the new laws, he said farmers can now sell their produce to whover they wanted and wherever they got the right price.

He said that, under the new laws, farmers can sell their produce at the minimum support price (MSP) or sell it at market or export or sell it to a merchant, or sell it in another state, or sell it through FPO or be part of the value chain of biscuits, chips, jam, or other consumer products.

Referring to the Kisan Samman Nidhi, a direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme, Modi regretted that more than 70 lakh farmers of West Bengal had not been able to benefit from it. He said more than 23 lakh farmers had applied online to take advantage of the scheme. But the state government has stopped the verification process for so long, he said.

He said the parties which do not speak in the interest of farmers in West Bengal, come to Delhi and talk about the farmers. He said these parties are missing the agricultural produce marketing committees (APMCs) and "mandis" (markets) nowadays. At the same time, there are no APMC-mandis in Kerala and they never agitate in that state, he said.

Modi said that his government was working to reduce the input costs of farmers. He also listed various farmer-centric intiatives taken by the government like soil health card, neem coating of urea, and the scheme for distribution of solar pumps which helped in reducing the input cost for the farmers. He added the government tried to ensure that the farmers have a better crop insurance cover. Today, crores of farmers are getting the benefit of the PM crop insurance scheme, he said.

The Prime Minister said the government tried to ensure that the country's farmers got a fair price for their crops. He said the Government fixed one and a half times the production cost as MSP for the farmers as per the recommendations of the long-standing Swaminathan Committee report. The number of crops for which MSP is available has also been increased, he said.

Modi said that the Government aimed to open new markets for the farmers to sell their crop. He said the Government gad added more than a thousand agricultural mandis of the country online. Among these, more than Rs. one lakh crore have been traded. He said the Government worked towards forming groups of small farmers so that they can work as a collective force in their region. Today, a campaign is underway to form more than 10,000 Farmers Producer Organizations -- FPOs -- in the country, and they are being given financial help.

The Prime Minister said, today, the farmers are getting a pucca house, toilet and clean piped drinking water. They have benefited greatly from the free electricity connection and free gas connection. Free treatment up to Rs. 5 lakh under Ayushman Bharat scheme has reduced the major concern of the lives of farmers.

The Prime Minister said investment and innovation has improved in other sectors, income was enhanced and Brand India was established in them. He said the time had now come for Brand India to establish itself in the agricultural markets of the world with equal prestige.

The Prime Minister thanked those farmers from different parts of the country who had supported and welcomed the agricultural reforms and said he would not let them down.

He said people, mainly from the rural areas, participated in the recently held local body elections in Assam, Rajasthan, and Jammu and Kashmir and, in a way, had rejected all the parties that misled farmers.

NNN

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