The Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated and dedicated to the nation and laid the foundation stone of multiple development projects worth about ₹7500 crore in sectors like health, rail, road, oil and gas in Shirdi in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra on Thursday. 

He underlined that the welfare of the poor is the highest priority of the “double-engine” government and informed about increasing the budget for the same as the country’s economy is expanding. He mentioned distributing 1 crore 10 lakh Ayushman cards to beneficiaries in Maharashtra who will receive health insurance up to ₹5 lakh where the government is spending ₹70,000 crore.

He also launched ‘Namo Shetkari Mahasanman Nidhi Yojana’ benefitting more than 86 lakh farmer-beneficiaries. Earlier PM performed pooja and darshan at Shri Saibaba Samadhi temple in Shirdi.

Talking about the small farmers, the Prime Minister mentioned PM Kisan Samman Nidhi under which small farmers received ₹2,60,000 crore including ₹26,000 crore for the small farmers of Maharashtra. He expressed happiness that the Maharashtra government has started ‘Namo Shetkari Mahasanman Nidhi Yojana’ under which Maharashtra Shetkari families will get an extra ₹6,000, meaning local small farmers will get ₹12,000 of Samman Nidhi, he said.

Empowering farmers

The Prime Minister emphasised that the government is committed to the empowerment of farmers. He informed that in the seven years, food grains worth ₹13.5-lakh crorewas procured under MSP while this figure was a mere ₹3.5-lakh crore during the tenure of a senior leader in the earlier government. Oilseed and pulses worth ₹1-lakh 15 thousand crore were procured after 2014 compared to ₹500-600 crore worth MSP procurement earlier. Direct benefit transfer has removed corruption and leakage, he said.

 “To ensure timely payment to sugarcane farmers, assistance worth thousands of crores of rupees has been provided to sugar mills and cooperative societies”, he added.

The Prime Minister said “Our government is working to strengthen the cooperative movement. More than 2 lakh cooperative societies are being formed across the country.” To ensure better storage and old storage facilities, PACs and cooperatives are being provided facilities. Small farmers are being organised through FPOs as more than 7,500 FPOs are already functional.