The Centre has rolled out several new schemes to boost production and cut input costs.
New Delhi: The NDA government's "achievements" in the farm sector during the last 48 months are much higher when compared to the Congress' 48-year rule since independence, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh claimed on Wednesday.
Listing out the first four years' achievements of the Modi government in the agriculture sector, the minister said the Centre has rolled out several new schemes to boost production and cut input costs with an aim to achieve its target of doubling farmers' income by 2022.
Singh said programmes such as Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (crop insurance scheme), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojana (irrigation), Soil Health Card, neem-coated urea, linking of mandis to a electronic trading platform e-NAM, among others, are making a difference in the lives of farmers. He also slammed the Opposition for failing to appreciate the changes these programmes are bringing at the ground level.
"For 48 years, one family was ruling the country and it did not do any major development work in the agri sector. Initiatives taken by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were also stalled by the UPA. We have achieved much more in agriculture in just 48 months," Singh told reporters here.
In the 2018-19 Union budget, the government announced it would fix minimum support price (MSP) 1.5 times higher than the cost of production and also frame a mechanism to ensure the support price reaches to farmers, he added.
Stating that modern markets are being developed to ensure better price to farmers, Singh said 585 mandis (wholesale markets) in 14 states have been linked so far to the online trading platform called e-NAM and additional 415 mandis will be connected by 2020.
There has been increase in government procurement of pulses, oilseeds and cotton through various schemes during the last four years of the government, he said.
To ensure farmers get bank loans, Singh said the Modi government has encouraged to form over 25 lakh joint liability groups in the last four years to whom Rs 27,930 crore has been released by the government. Asked about the protest called by some farmers' bodies from next month, Singh said the ministry has not received any representation from these organisations.
The country's foodgrain production is estimated to have touched a record 279.51 million tonnes in the 2017-18 crop year (July-June) but the farmers in some states are in distress because of sharp fall in prices.