Agencies, New Delhi
President Ram Nath Kovind said on Thursday that to increase the income support of farm community, the government has extended ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi’ to every farmer in the country and an investment of Rs 25 lakh crore will be made in the coming years to enhance agriculture productivity.
‘Large scale investments have been made to strengthen rural India. In order to enhance agriculture productivity, an investment of Rs 25 lakh crore will be made in the coming years,’ Mr Kovind said in his address to the Joint Sitting of Parliament.
To enable the farmer brothers and sisters who work day and night in their fields to lead a respectable life after attaining the age of 60 years, a ‘Pension Scheme’ for them has also been approved, he said.
‘A decision has been taken to increase the income support to farmers who are our Annadaata, by extending the coverage under ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi’, to every farmer in the country,’ the President said.
Livestock is invaluable for farmers, Mr Kovind said, adding that they have to spend a lot of money for treatment of cattle-related diseases.
‘To reduce this expenditure, my government has also decided to start a special scheme with an allocation of Rs 13,000 crore,’ he said.
The government is fully conscious of the crisis in the drought-hit areas and stands by every affected citizen, Mr Kovind said, adding that ‘with the support of state governments and sarpanches at the village level, it is being ensured that farmers are assisted and the scarcity of drinking water is tackled.
‘Strengthening the system and spirit of Co-operative Federalism, my Government is taking the States along to achieve the national goals. Important developmental issues were discussed with the Chief Ministers and a decision was taken to constitute a Committee of Chief Ministers to look into Structural Reforms in the field of agriculture,’ Mr Kovind said.
Maintaining that only on the foundation of a strong rural economy, it is possible to build a strong national economy, he said, ‘To double the income of farmers by 2022, several steps have been taken in the last five years. Be it the decision to increase the MSP, or approval for 100 percent FDI in food processing; be it completion of the irrigation projects pending for decades or extension of ‘Crop Insurance Scheme’; be it the ‘Soil Health Card’ or 100 per cent Neem coating of urea; my Government has taken many decisions, appreciating such numerous small and big needs of the farmers.’
The Government has made the agriculture policy both production-centric as well as income-centric, he stressed.
‘An important link in these efforts is ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi’. Through this, an amount of more than Rs 12,000 crore has been disbursed to the farmers in just three months. An estimated expenditure of Rs 90,000 crore is likely to be incurred annually on this scheme since every farmer has now been brought in its ambit,’ he said.
With the provision of storage for farm produce, the economic security of the farmers is strengthened. Now the storage facility will be provided to the farmers near their village through the ‘Grameen Bhandaran Yojana’, the President said.
Mr Kovind said the benefit of cooperatives in the agriculture sector is being availed by the farmers in the dairy business. In other areas of agriculture also, the target is to create 10,000 new ‘Farmer Producer Organisations’ to benefit the farmers.