Speaking at News Nation's prestigious Hamari Sansad Sammelan, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday vowed to work for the welfare and development of the farmers in India. Tomar said while the government is working hard to eradicate farmers' distress at the earliest, the peasants also need to understand the climate conditions of the country. Interacting with News Nation's Deepak Chaurasia, the senior BJP leader also termed agriculture as the backbone of Indian economy.
Tomar's remark at Hamari Sansad Sammelan comes at a time when the entire country is wondering on what will be the path of Modi Sarkar 2.0? From farmers' distress to economic slowdown, the second term of Modi government has to tackle issues at massive scale.
Tomar, a three-time MP who was made to the Union Cabinet for the second time, has come a long way in politics after starting as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) youth wing leader in the early 80s. It was Tomar who conducted the ceremony in the Central Hall of Parliament when Narendra Modi was unanimously elected by the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) constituent parties as their leader. In 2014, Tomar won the Lok Sabha election from Gwalior and was made a cabinet minister, heading several ministries including mines, steel, labour and employment and rural development and panchayati raj. He returned to Morena in the 2019 election, winning by a margin of over 1.13 lakh votes.
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Doubling farmers' income:
In 2016, the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development released a report on how this could be done. The Niti Aayog followed up with its own report in 2017. Yet, in real terms, farm income growth in the October to December 2018 quarter was at its lowest in 14 years. According to agriculture expert and Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand, for farmers' income to double, the government should register an annual growth of 10.41 percent till 2022/23.
The Modi 2.0 government in its first cabinet meeting had approved a pension scheme for farmers with an aim to cover 5 crore beneficiaries in the first three years, which would cost the exchequer Rs 10,774.5 crore per annum. Tomar urged the states to start enrolling farmers in the age group of 18-40 years besides taking measures to create awareness about the scheme.
Besides, farmers will have to contribute Rs 100 per month under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Pension Yojana that seeks to provide a minimum fixed monthly pension of Rs 3,000 on the attainment of 60 years.The central government will also contribute an equal amount to the pension fund to be managed by the LIC, which will be responsible for the pension payout, it said.
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Farmers can also opt to allow contribution to be made directly from the benefits drawn from the PM-Kisan scheme. There will also be an online grievance redressal system for complete transparency. Also, Kisan Credit Card scheme, which was originally launched in 1998, has also got a special focus. Under this scheme, all farmers, who are eligible for the Kisan Credit Card, will be issued a smart card-cum-debit card in addition to the Kisan Credit Card. Based on the annual review, banks determine the validity of the existing credit card, and credit limits can be increased at the issuing bank’s discretion.