Jan Shatabadi from Jammu to Amritsar
JAMMU, Oct 1: Maintaining that recent Farm legislations passed by the Parliament were aimed at democratization of Indian Agriculture since they provided freedom of choice to the farming community, Union Minister of State in PMO with independent charge of North Eastern States, Dr. Jitendra Singh today accused the opposition parties of misleading the farmers for their vested political interests.
Talking to reporters here today on the recent Farm legislations passed by the Parliament on empowerment of farmers along with MP Lok Sabha, Jugal Kishroe Sharma, M P Rajya Sabha, Shamsher Singh Manhas, KK Sharma, Advisor to Lt. Governor, Navin K Choudhary, Principle Secretary, Department of Agriculture Production , J&K, Dr Jitendra Singh highlighted various salient features of the Farm legislation and termed it a revolutionary step of Narendra Modi Government to make farmers of the country self reliant and masters of their fate to rid them from the highhandedness of the middle men and agents.
Terming the farm legislation a true democratization of farm sector, Dr Jitendra Singh said it is democratically and Constitutionally a very valid decision and pooh -poohed those who are misleading the farming community on this account.
“When every thing is on line why can’t farmers sell their produce on line and why will they remain tied with Mandi”?, he asked and assured them that Modi Government will not take any decision which will be inimical to the interests of the farmers who are the backbone of the country.
Dr Jitendra Singh said farmers should no longer be called farmers now but they are the agriculture entrepreneurs and technocrats and they deserve to be provided with same facility which the other technocrats in the country are provided. The Modi Government through the new legislation has kept all means and ways open for the farmer in selling his produce, he said, adding if a farmer is interested in the old system the Government has no problem in that and he is free to do so.
Rejecting the opposition allegations and canards spread by the vested interests that this Government supports Ambanis, the Union Minister said during last six years this Government increased the Minimum Support Price (MSP) continuously.
Dr Jitendra Singh said during UPA rule from 2009 to 2014 wheat procurement by Government was 1395 lakh Mts which increased to 1680 lakh mts during NDA rule from 2014 to 2019. This means there was three lakh MTs increase in procurement during this period which shows the commitment of Modi Government for the welfare of farmers.
He said even the procurement was done during COVID period to boost the morale of farmers. The paddy procurement which during UPA rule from 2009 to 2014 was 2493 lakh mts was increased to 2887 mts during NDA rule from 2014 to 2019, he added.
He said that these legislations were progressive and would provide impetus to Indian agriculture to complete at a global stage while protecting farmers interests and improving farm incomes. Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the greatest emphasis on the welfare and upliftment of the poor and backward sections.
While mentioning about the benefits of the recent farm legislations, Dr Singh said that the producers i.e. the farming community deserved better opportunities and freedom of choice. Since the present system had certain restrictions in terms of marketing the farm produce, the recent legislations would provide wide variety of competitive choices for the producers for marketing.
He said that to make Indian agriculture competitive, revolutionary and transformational reforms were needed that would result in increased productivity. He further said that recent legislations would also help create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in agriculture and allied sectors thereby increasing farm incomes on which more than half of Indian population is dependent.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Union Government’s commitment to the welfare and empowerment of farmers was evident from a range of progressive initiatives implemented across the length and breadth of the country. These included PM Kisan SammanNidhi, FasalBimaYojna, Kisan Credit Card, Soil Health Cards, dedicated bamboo Culsters, Fruit parks etc. He further mentioned that the MSP for Wheat rice, Soya and other farm commodities had been increasing continuously since 2015-16 as a consequence of progressive and conscious efforts made by the government in farmer’s interest. While substantiating his statement, Dr. Singh said that for wheat the MSP per Quintal was Rs.1526 in 2015-16, Rs. 1625 in 2016-17, Rs. 1735 in 2017-18, Rs.1640 in 2018-19, Rs. 1840 in 2019-20 and Rs. 1925 in 2020-21. He mentioned that the farm output had also been increasing even when the country was hit by COVID 19 pandemic.
While allaying fears related to the farm legislations, Dr Jitendra Singh said that there was need for greater awareness on the issue since many misconceptions and false narratives were being created on the issue. While mentioning about contract farming, Dr Singh said that there were enough safeguards provided for the farmers under the contracts that the farmers may be entering into. He said that these contracts were voluntary and the farmers were not bound by these contracts since these could be dissolved anytime. He further said that in the new legislations there were provisions for procuring produce at MSP by the intending farmers in addition to other options that were not available earlier. He also said that the move would increase trading on electronic platforms leading to greater efficiency and transparency. It would also attract investment and technological interventions in agriculture equally available to big and small farmers.
Referring to Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Jitendra Singh said that this reform has come at a time when Article 370 was abrogated by Modi Government and the new legislations will automatically be implemented in J&K otherwise it needed the concurrence of the State Legislature. He said3.5 lakh families in J&K are directly dealing with agriculture and they will be benefitted with the decision.
He said establishment of three Bamboo clusters in J&K is also a decision taken for the welfare and empowerment of farmers in this UT.
Dr Jitendra Singh also announced new Jan Shatabdi Express from Jammu to holy city of Amritsar, Punjab to facilitate the travel of pilgrims. He said the train will be started within day or two and it will run five days a week.
Earlier Jugal Kishore Sharma, MP, Lok Sabha also mentioned about the benefits of the farm legislations and the need to spread awareness about the various the various provisions in the interest of farmers. Chandra Mohan Gupta, Mayor, JMC and Purnima Sharma, Dy Mayor, JMC, Neha Jalali, Deputy Director, Press Information Bureau and Regional Outreach Bureau, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, Omi Khajuria president BJP Kissan Morcha and Tejinder Singh Wazir president Kissan Council were also present on the occasion. An Exhibition on birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi was organized by Regional Outreach Bureau J&K at the venue.