Modi calls farmers back to the table for talks with releasing ₹18,000-crore PM-Kisan tranche

Our Bureau. New Delhi | Updated on December 26, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an animated conversation with Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad after releasing a book titled ‘Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Parliament: A Commemorative Volume’ in New Delhi on Friday   -  PTI

In nationwide outreach, PM and 30 Ministers target Opposition for ‘stoking’ fears on farm laws

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted nine lakh farmers on Christmas and BJP icon Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 96th birth anniversary with a direct transfer of ₹18,000 crore under the PM-Kisan while simultaneously showcasing the benefits of the new farm laws against which thousands of farmers have been protesting on Delhi’s borders for a month.

The Prime Minister, along with 30 Union Ministers, launched the ruling BJP’s nationwide blitzkrieg against the Opposition parties accusing them of “rumour-mongering” and misleading the farmers even as he renewed the offer of dialogue on the three farm laws.

Although not naming them, the Prime Minister targeted the Congress and the Left, which have just stitched up an alliance for the upcoming West Bengal Assembly elections, and singled out the Trinamool Congress-led State Government for “depriving 70 lakh farmers of PM-Kisan”.

Through a video conference moderated by Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, the Prime Minister interacted with beneficiaries from six States who hailed the farm policies, including access to credit facilities through the Kisan Credit Card, subsidies on drip irrigation, and the crop insurance scheme.

Contract farming

Modi cited their example to underline that these farmers have benefited from contract farming, online trading and new trade zones and stressed that it is only for political reasons that the Opposition parties are spreading “lies” and stoking baseless fears about the government’s farm reforms.

The ruling BJP also relayed this political message through 30 public rallies by Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Sadanand Gowda, Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani and others while the PM said he is ready to talk not just to the farmers but also to the Opposition if it addresses genuine concerns about the farm laws.

“All decisions can be subjected to logic and rationale. I am not saying that I am the repository of all wisdom. You point out the mistakes. We are ready to talk about any issue with an open mind, even with parties who favoured the same reforms when they were in power and have now changed colour. These leaders who are misleading the farmers, they don’t believe in democracy… the language they have been using... I have tolerated everything. And once again, with humility I say, we will talk to them also. We are working towards improving the lot of the farmers. But don’t be misled by anyone,” said Modi in the wake of sharpened attacks and a joint letter by the Opposition to press the demand for withdrawing farm laws.

Vajpayee’s birth anniversary

Opposition MPs, especially from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), shouted slogans in Parliament where the Prime Minister was attending a function to commemorate Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 96th birth anniversary.

The Prime Minister countered the “anti-farmer” charge by the Opposition by recounting policy measures aimed at creating modern markets especially for small farmers, a number of whom were lined up by the Agriculture Ministry to validate the Government’s claim that the new laws are meant to create more opportunities.

“About 80 per cent of those engaged in agriculture are small farmers; there are about 10 crore in number. They have become poorer over the years. Since 2014, we have brought in policies that reduce input cost by subsidising drip irrigation, solar pumps, neem-coating of urea, soil health cards... Over ₹87,000 crore has been disbursed as crop insurance. We have implemented the Swaminathan Commission recommendations on the MSP and increased the number of crops under MSP.

“We want to create better alternative avenues through online sale of farm produce, over 1,000 mandis have been joined through the Internet. Over 10,000 FPOs are going to be formed to benefit small farmers. Cold storage network is being developed through crores of investment by the Government. From ₹7-lakh crore in 2015, the credit for farmers has been increased to ₹14-lakh crore. Over 2.5 crore farmers are being joined to Kisan Credit Card. With changing times, we need to change our approach. We need to modernise agriculture in 21st century,” he said.


The Prime Minister again underlined that the talk of abolition of the MSP and the APMC is a “lie” spread by the Opposition.

“After these farm laws, you can sell your crop anywhere you like. Wherever you get good price, you can sell. If you want to sell at MSP in the mandis, you can do it. You want to export, you can do it. You can sell it to the traders in the other States, You want to become part of biscuit, jams chain, you can do it. What is wrong in this? Myths are being spread about MSPs, mandis will be abolished. It has been months since the farm laws were implemented, has any mandi closed? We have increased MSPs even after the farm laws were brought,” he said.


Published on December 25, 2020

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