Amid protests by cultivators, Prime Minister of India says his government focusing on improving lives of small farmers


PM receives warm welcome by people at Navsari, in Gujarat on February 22, 2024.

AHMEDABAD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said his government was focusing on improving the lives of small farmers through various schemes and initiatives, comments coming in the backdrop of protests by Punjab and Haryana cultivators in support of their demands, including a legal guarantee of MSP for crops and a farm loan waiver.

During his day-long visit to Gujarat which was packed with multiple programmes, Modi travelled to Ahmedabad, Navsari, Mehsana and Surat and attended several events, including golden jubilee celebrations of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which markets daily products under the Amul brand, and inaugurated or laid foundation stones of a slew of projects.

He also dedicated to the nation two new Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) with a cumulative capacity of 1,400 megawatt at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Surat district.

Addressing a gathering of nearly 1 lakh people, mostly cattle-rearers and farmers, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad’s Motera on GCMMF golden jubilee celebrations, he maintained that strengthening the rural economy was necessary to achieve the goal of a ‘Viksit Bharat’ (developed India).

Referring to the BJP government’s plan of creating 10,000 FPOs or Farmer Producer Organisations, Modi said his administration was on a mission to turn small farmers into ”agri entrepreneurs and exporters”.

The PM listed many schemes meant for farmers and village-dwellers, such as Micro ATMs, GOBARdhan scheme and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samridhi Kendras.

”With Micro ATMs installed in villages, cattle-rearers don’t have to go far to withdraw cash. We are also planning to give RuPay credit cards to cattle-rearers. As a pilot project, we have launched that scheme in Banaskantha and Panchmahal districts,” the PM maintained.

”We are giving priority to each and every aspect of villages and our focus is on improving the lives of small farmers, on improving the health of livestock and how farmers get more income through allied activities such as fishing and bee-keeping. That is why we have decided to give Kisan credit cards to fishermen and cattle-rearers, too,” he said.

To protect livestock from the deadly foot-and-mouth disease, his government has launched a free vaccination drive for cattle at a cost of Rs 15,000 crore and nearly 60 crore jabs were already given, he added.

”We have also set up Kisan Samridhi Kendras across the country so that farmers get scientific solutions to their problems near their villages. We are also making arrangements to help farmers in making organic fertilisers,” Modi noted.

Referring to solar panel installations in fields and setting up of bio-gas plants which in turn produce bio-fertiliser from cow dung, the PM said his government wants to turn ”anna data” into ”urja data” and ”uvarak data” (food grain growers into producers of energy and fertilisers).

”We are providing solar-based pumps and helping farmers in installing solar plants in their fields. Under our GOBARdhan project, we will buy cow dung from farmers to produce gas. This bio-gas is then used for producing electricity for dairy plants. The bio-fertiliser produced during that process will be given back to farmers,” Modi said.

At the same event, the PM appealed to farmers and other stakeholders of the cooperative sector to make GCMMF, the world’s No. 1 dairy company from its current eighth position.

Giving an overview of India’s booming dairy sector, Modi said it is growing at a rate of 6 per cent per annum, while the global dairy sector is expanding at 2 per cent.

”At present, Amul (GCMMF) is the world’s eighth biggest dairy sector company. You all need to make it the world’s biggest dairy company. My government is with you in this endeavour, and it is Modi’s guarantee,” the PM said in his address.

In Mehsana, Modi targeted the opposition Congress, saying it continues to live in negativity and is not ready to leave the path of hatred even when a grand Ram temple has been built and inaugurated in Ayodhya.

The PM was addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Valinath Mahadev temple in Mehsana district. He also inaugurated and laid the foundation stones of various projects costing more than Rs 8,350 crore.

Modi said for a long time in independent India, the Congress created a conflict and enmity ”between development and heritage.” ”If anyone is to be blamed for this, it is the same Congress which ruled the country for decades. These are the same people who made even a holy place like Somnath (temple) a cause of controversy,” he said.

The Congress did not even show the desire to hoist a religious flag at the Pavagadh temple in Panchmahal district, and for decades linked the Sun temple at Modhera with vote bank politics, he said.

”And today, when a grand temple has been constructed at (Lord Ram’s) birthplace, when the entire country is happy with it, the people who live in negativity are not leaving the path of hatred,” he said.

In Navsari, Modi attacked the Congress over its comments about his caste and said the opposition party has no agenda except abusing him, but this attitude will only strengthen the resolve to win more than 400 seats for the BJP-led NDA in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls.

”You have seen how Congress people abuse Modi’s caste. But Congress people forget that the more abuses they hurl, the stronger will be the resolve to cross 400 (Lok Sabha seats),” he said at a public function at Navsari in south Gujarat during his day-long visit to the state.

”The more mud they throw, the more gloriously 370 lotuses (BJP poll symbol) will bloom (referring to ruling party’s target of winning 370 LS seats on its own). Except for abusing Modi, the Congress has no other agenda for the country,” Modi asserted.


Source: Press Trust of India

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