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Government of India
Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare
17-July-2019 19:48 IST
Union Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar gives detailed reply to Demands for Grants for Ministries of Rural Development & Agriculture in LokSabha

Gaon, Gareeb, Kisan continues to remain the prime focus of the Government: Shri Narendra Singh Tomar

Union Minister Shri Narendra SinghTomargiving detailed reply to Demands for Grants for the Ministries of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Rural Development in LokSabha today,assertedthat Agriculture and Rural Development are related to everyone and both these are important for the country. Allaying the concerns regarding insufficient budget for rural development the Minister said that there has been an increase of 74% in fund allocation during 2014-15 to 2019-20 over the previous five years. There are sufficient funds under each head and government is working at a greater pace.

The Union Minister for Agriculture said thatthe first phase of Pradhan Mantri Gram SadakYojana(PMGSY) which was started during the  Vajpayee government should have been completed by 2008 but the works were pending. In 2014 Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi had committed that first phase shall be completed by 2019 and 97% of it is completed till date. Of the second phase of PMGSY 50,000 kms roads are being made of which acceptance in principle has been given for 41,000 kms and 21,000 kms is completed. Further, a third Phase has been approved by the Cabinet recently with an ambit of 1.25 lakh kms and 80,000 crores fund allocation. The aim of the government is to have a fast pace, better quality and green technology in building roads. In utilizing green technology, plastic waste has been used to build 27,000 kms roads. Citing the increased pace of construction of roads, the Minister said that before 2014 roads were constructed at the speed of 76 kms/day which is now 135 kms/day. A new app “MeriSadak App” has been launchedby Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi led government to ensure the quality of roads remain in good condition. More than one lakh complaints have already been received on this app most of which are being redressed. A three tier monitoring system has been constituted to ensure good quality roads are provided to all the citizens. The three tier includes district level, state level and National level quality monitoring.

Talking about the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), the Minister said that earlier the questions used to be shortfalls and corruptions regarding the scheme but now it is with regard to more funds, increasing work days which means that proper implementation of the scheme is taking place now. Till date 12 crore job cards has been issued out of which 11 crorecards have been linked with Aadhar and 7 crore cards have been linked to bank accounts. MNREGS had become a social welfare tool and transparency has been brought under the leadership of  Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi. The government is working towards getting money directly to the bank accounts of beneficiaries without any middle men. Talking about utilizing MNREGS in agriculture Shri Tomar said that there are limits of using such labour for agriculture purposes. He said that Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi led government has worked extensively towards imparting skills to the laborers under MNREGS. The Minister highlighted the fact that the budgetary allocation under MNREGS has not been reduced but infact been increased by 6000 crores as compared to last year and further expenditure if required will also be provided through the revised estimate.

The Union Minister asserted that the Pradhan MantriAwasYojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) has changed the face of India wherein 1.53 crore rural houses have been built and 1.95 crore  more houses will be constructed by 2021-22. The Minister said that it is Prime Minister NarendraModi’sendeavor to provide every person with a roof over his head by 2022 and the government is working tirelessly towards itsfulfillment.

Talking about the importance of providing livelihood the Minister said that more than 5 lakh Self Help Groups (SHGs) are providing livelihood to more than 5 crore women across the nation. Loans to the tune of 2 lakh crore have been provided to the SHGs and the remarkable fact is that only 2.9% of these loans are NPAs. The Minister asserted that it is only when the villages in India prosper that India will prosper. Since the Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi led government took charge in 2014 the focus has been on “Gaon, Gareeb and Kisan” and the government is dedicated towards improving the lives of its citizens.

Enumerating the various schemes in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Tomar said that there are broadly 13 schemes and 18 sub-schemes which are being implemented for the betterment of the farmers across the nation. Talking about the importance of research in Agriculture the Minister said that India has made huge strides to ensure self-sufficiency in agriculture. The Minister lauded the efforts of agricultural scientists in developing new varieties in agriculture. In the past ten years 5958 new seed varieties have been developed out of which 372 seed varieties have been developed in 2018-19.

The Minister asserted that in the past five years agriculture and allied activities have become viable, profitable and more respectable which is attracting more and more educated youth in this sector. The Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi led government has taken up huge challenge of doubling farmers income by 2022 and various schemes and steps taken by the government are helping towards achieving this goal.

Enumerating the major challenges in theagricuture sector such as managing of scarce water resources, providing market connectivity and promoting agricultural exports, Shri Tomar saidthat amongst these the biggest challenge is management of water resources. The Minister said that Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi has worked towards improving efficiency in management of water resources by formation of the Ministry of Jal Shakti. The Prime Minister in the latest edition of “Mann kiBaat” exhorted all the citizens of the nation to contribute towards water conservation.

Another big challenge the Minister highlighted was making agriculture profitable and viable since agriculture is one of the largest employers and India continues to be an agriculture basedeconomy. Therefore, to prepare for the future the Government has envisaged ‘Smart Farm and Smart Farmer’ on the line of Smart cities. For this, Science and Technology will be the key.

The Agriculture Minister further said that the Prime Minister has given primacy to the progress of ‘Gaon, Garib, Kisan’ across the nation and the 140% increase in budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare in 2019-20 shows Prime Minister’s dedication towards achieving this progress. Shri Tomar also added that all the schemes are dedicated towards ensuring the goal of getting farmers their due respect and making farming economically viable. Elaborating further the Minister said that “Neem Coated Urea” has had a positive impact on farming in India. The farmers before 2014 had to stand in line and wait for urea but since the arrival of Neem coated urea in the market, there is ample stock available for the farmers and also reduced cost of farming, increased transparency and removed hoarding and black-marketing. Shri Tomar said that the neem coated urea is not new but middlemen did not allow it to be implemented but the Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi led government has implemented it.

Talking about the social security net for farmers Shri Tomar said that the Pradhan MantriFasalBimaYojana (PMFBY) has been reconstituted to ensure that maximum benefits are provide to the farmers using minimum amount. The Minister said that there are still lacunae in this scheme and invited all MPs to give suggestions for making this scheme more comprehensive. Shri Tomar said that before 2014, 36 crore rupees were allocated while in the last five years 74 crore has been allocated for PMFBY.

The Union Agriculture Minister highlighted the fact that it was Shri AtalBihari Vajpayee led government that brought in the Kisan Credit Card Scheme (KCC) for betterment of farmers. He said that special saturation drive is being undertaken to ensure 100% coverage under KCC. The Minister said that in 2015-16 the target of providing loans to farmers was 8,50,000crore but 9,15,509crore was actually given. Similarly in 2016-17 against the target of 9,00,000 crore, 10,65,755 crores were given, in 2017-18 against target of 10,00,000 crore, 11,68,502 crores were given, similarly in 2018-19 against target of 11,00,000 crore, 11,14,180 crores were given.

The Minister asserted that our farmer is not lacking in production but does not get fair price for his produce. He said that it is the Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi led government which implemented the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee which suggested MSP to be pegged at 1.5 times the production cost. Shri Tomar said that the purchase at MSP before 2014 was low but during 2014-19 maximum purchase is being made at MSP. Another key-point worth highlighting is that while earlier only wheat and rice were being procured but now pulses and oilseeds are also being procured.

Talking about PM-Kisan, a flagship scheme, which aims to provide 6000 rupees annually to the farmers, Shri Tomar said that the scheme has been welcomed by the entire nation. This scheme alongwith other schemes has empowered the farmers especially small and marginal farmers. The Minister requested states governments to provide detailed list of all eligible farmers so that benefit of PM-Kisan can be provided to them. An amount of 87000 crore has been allocated for this scheme. Another big decision was the Kisan Pension Yojana which aims to provide pension to farmers who are more than 60 years of age.

In conclusion, Shri Tomar said that farmers will have a huge contribution towards building a new India which will be a 5 trillion dollar economy based on innovation, investment, institutionalisation, infrastructure and integration.

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APS/AS/JP