Bolstered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal record of working with farmers, the NDA government has taken various decisions for farmer welfare from day one. For the first time, there was now a government led by a leader who publicly set ambitious targets – doubling farmers’ income – and inspired the whole nation.
As a way of recognizing role models, some farmers were even honoured with Padma Awards.
In the past six years, the Modi government has gone about reforming the agriculture domain step-by-step. At every step of the agricultural cycle, the needs of the farmers have been kept in mind.
Not only were MSPs hiked multiple times but procurement at MSP also increased many times more than earlier governments did. In 2013-14, the MSP for Tur dal was Rs 4,300 per quintal whereas in 2020-21, the MSP for Tur dal has been substantially increased to Rs 6,000/quintal.
If the MSP declared for Tur dal is 55% higher, the procurement of pulses too has gone up almost exponentially. During 2009-14, the UPA government procured only 1.52 LMT of pulses, whereas during 2014- 19, the Modi government procured 112.28 LMT of pulses at MSP, a 74-fold rise!
Take another example. In the 15 years preceding 2014, Sharad Pawar’s party was in power in Maharashtra, while for 10 years during this period he was also the Union Agriculture Minister. During this time, the government spent just Rs 450 crore in purchasing food grain from farmers of Maharashtra. In contrast, during 2014-19, a period of just 5 years, the NDA government purchased food grain worth Rs 8,500 crore.
An MSP hike was announced as recently as September 2020, immediately after the pro-farmer reform bills were passed, clearly showing the intentions of the government to strengthen the MSP system even more.
Irrigation and insurance have both seen huge improvement. Direct income support was ensured for farmers through the historic PMKISAN scheme, through which money now directly reaches the bank accounts of the farmers.
Cold chains, mega food parks and such agro-processing infrastructure shave been set up on a big scale. Allied activities have witnessed never before-seen focus as an avenue of income generation for farmers.
The latest wave of pro-farmer reforms, advocated by many experts for decades, fulfil the demands of many farmers and farmer unions. These reforms give farmers the freedom to sell anywhere and to anyone.
Farmers can sell in APMC Mandis as well as outside them.
Further, these reforms also strengthen farmers with a protective legal framework when dealing with buyers, ensuring they get an assured income for their produce.
These reforms have seen decades of consultations with stakeholders, multiple committees and clear cross-party consensus about the way forward.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s track record and his government’s actions give confidence that the life of the Indian farmer is transforming for the better, with an elaborate safety net being created for farmers while also increasing their avenues of income generation.
As the nation responds to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, Aatmanirbhar farmers will lead the way