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Modi urges farmers to end stir and give reforms a chance
Government committed to empowering the farmer, says PM
New Delhi, February 8, 2021
Assuring farmers that his Government was committed to empowering and strengthening them, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urged them to end their protest against the three new Central farm laws and give a chance to the agricultural reforms.
Replying to the debate in the Rajya Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President for his address to a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, he said he was always open to change and amendments to the laws could be considered in the interest of the farmers.
Modi also asserted that the minimum support price (MSP) regime would continue even after the laws came into force.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting on the borders of Delhi since November 26 demanding that the new laws be repealed and the enactment of a new law to guarantee to farmers the minimum support price (MSP) declared by the Government for different crops.
Modi urged the farmers to resume talks with the Government so that all issues could be resolved amicably. He said all sections should work together to solve such problems.
He said the various changes initiated by his government in the agricultural sector since it assumed office in May 2014 pointed to its commitment to empowering the farmer.
In this context, he referred to the changes in crop insurance and the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sammann Nidhi (PM-KISAN) under which every farmer will get up to Rs 6,000 per year as minimum income support.
He said that the Government is working, in particular, for the small farmers. Farmers have got claims worth Rs 90,000 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). This crop insurance scheme was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers welfare from Kharif 2016 season onwards.
He said that farmers also benefitted from the Kisan Credit Card, Soil Health Card and Samman Nidhi schemes. When the road connectivity improves under PM Gramin Sadak Yojna, it would facilitate the transport of the farm products to distant places. There are efforts like the ‘Kisan Rail’ for fast transportation of perishable products to the markets through the railway network. ‘Kisan Udan’, announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Union Budget in February 2020 aims to help farmers transport agricultural products on national and international air routes, he said.
“The need of the hour is to improve the lives of the small farmers. Why should not they have the same freedom as the dairy sector to work with the private or cooperative sector?” the Prime Minister asked in an apparent reference to the provisions in the three new laws which, among other things, contain provisions that allow the farmer to sell products to anyone, anywhere. Farmers’ organisations have been agitating for the repeal of the three Acts, claiming they were against the interests of the small farmer.
Problems of agriculture should be resolved, Modi said, inviting all the parties to move forward for the welfare of the farmers. On MSP, the Prime Minister reiterated, “MSP is there, MSP was there. MSP will remain in the future. Affordable ration for the poor will continue. Mandis will be modernised.”
"For the welfare of the farmers, we need to rise above political calculations,” he added.
Cautioning against “the forces who are trying to destabilise the country, he said, “India is very proud of the contribution of Sikhs. This is a community that has done so much for the nation. The words and blessings of the Guru Sahibs are precious. Attempts should be made to bridge the urban-rural divide,” he added.
The Prime Minister began his address by thanking the members of the Upper House for participating and contributing towards the debate. He said the President’s address has infused hope and confidence in the world which is facing hard challenges.
“India, today, is a land of opportunities and the eyes of the world are on this country. There are expectations from India and there is the confidence that it will contribute to the betterment of our planet. As the country enters the 75th year of its Independence, we should try to make it a celebration of inspiration and rededicate ourselves to the pledges of our vision for India of 2047 when it will celebrate the centennial of its Independence,” he added.
Modi said the effective handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was not the success of a party or an individual but the nation and should be celebrated as such. India has seen days when there was a huge threat of polio and smallpox. Nobody knew whether India would get a vaccine or how many people would get it.
"From those days, we are now at a spot when our nation is making vaccines for the world and undertaking the world’s largest vaccine drive. This increases our self-confidence. The COVID-19 period has added new strength to our federal structure and the spirit of cooperative federalism,” he said.
Modi described Indian democracy as not a western institution but a human institution. It was imperative to alert the people about the all-round attack on Indian nationalism, he said.
Quoting Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, the Prime Minister asserted, Indian nationalism is neither narrow nor selfish or aggressive, It is based on the notion of Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram. “India is not merely the world's largest democracy. India is the 'Mother of Democracy' and this is our ethos. Our nation's temperament is democratic,” he added.
While several countries were deprived of foreign investment during the pandemic times, India received record investment. He listed India’s strong performance in foreign currency, FDI, internet penetration and digital, financial inclusion, the spread of toilet coverage, affordable housing, LPG coverage and free medical treatment in this regard. “There are challenges and we have to decide whether we want to be part of the solution or the problem,” he said.
Underlining the importance of the youth power, he said efforts to strengthen the youth will pay rich dividends for the bright future of the country. He appreciated the quick acceptance accorded to the National Education Policy by the youth.
The Prime Minister said MSME was critical for the recovery and growth of the economy and the sector has huge employment potential. That was why it received special attention in the stimulus packages.
Referring to the notion of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, the Prime Minister underlined the steps taken for normalisation in Maoist affected areas and the northeast. He said the situation was improving there and new opportunities opening up in these areas. He expressed the hope that in the coming years, the eastern region will play a major role in the development of the country.