Empowering our Farmers
September 26, 2016
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Empowering our Farmers

The NDA Government under PM Narendra Modi has put unprecedented focus on agriculture. Numerous initiatives to improve productivity, safeguard farmers and augment their incomes and improve their overall well-being have been taken in the past two years. The steps taken by the Government are helping the farmers in a multitude of ways; from easy availability of fertilizers to improving irrigation facilities, from crop insurance scheme to easy access to credit, from scientific help to better price for their produce. PM Modi has also given a call to double farmers’ incomes by 2022 by multi-modal interventions.

India faced consecutive droughts in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Yet due to the resilience of Indian farmers, agricultural production remained stable and so did supply and inflation. Total foodgrain output in 2015-16 is estimated at 252.23 MT while Total foodgrain output in 2014-15 was 252.02 MT. Ministry of Agriculture has been renamed as Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare. This reflects a paradigm shift in the vision, which puts farmer first. Allocation for Agriculture and Farmers’ welfare has been increased substantially to Rs 35,984 crore.

The Govt realises that agriculture needs to more predictable, productive and profitable. This needs a multidimensional approach to solving farmers’ problem throughout the entire cycle and hence the Govt has come up with solutions to various issues faced by a farmer.

Pre- sowing:

  1. Soil health Card to help farmers make the right choice.

The Govt has distributed 1.84 Cr. soil health cards. The target is to cover all 14 crore farm holdings & provide soil health card to all farmers.

  1. Fertilisers

Long queues for fertilisers are history now. The Govt is ensuring easy availability of fertilisers for farmers. Prices of fertilisers have also been reduced significantly. 100% Neem coated urea is available in the country. This will improve fertilizer use efficiency by 10 to 15 percent and thereby reduce the consumption of urea fertilizer.

  1. Finance

Govt approved Rs 18,276 crore towards interest subvention of farmer loans. This will ensure that a farmer pays 4% interest for short term crop loans, 7% for post harvest loans, 7% in case of natural calamity, against the market rate of 9%.

During sowing:

  1. Irrigation Facilities

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana to be implemented in mission mode & 28.5 lakh hectares will be brought under irrigation.  Implementation of 89 irrigation projects under AIBP, which were languishing for a long time, will be fast tracked. A dedicated Long Term Irrigation Fund is being created in NABARD with an initial corpus of about 20,000 crore. 5 lakh farm ponds and dug wells in rain fed areas and 10 lakh compost pits for production of organic manure will be taken up under MGNREGA.

  1. Support & Guidance

Scientific advice in the form of sms and calls have been sent to crores of farmers.

After sowing:

  1. Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojna

The PMFBY comes with the lowest ever premium rate for farmers. The PMFBY comes with One rate for One crop i.e. Kharif crops: 2 %, Rabi crops: 1.5 %, Horticulture Crops: 5 %. There is no capping on premium rates & no reduction in sum insured, thus ensuring full protection for farmers. Since independence, only around 20% farmers have been covered under insurance till now.  PMFBY targets 50%  coverage in next 3 years.

  1. e-NAM

Agriculture marketing is administered by the States as per their agri-marketing regulations, under which, the State is divided into several market areas. This fragmentation of markets hinders free flow of agri commodities from one market area to another and ends up escalating the prices for the consumers without commensurate benefit to the farmer. e-NAM addresses these challenges by creating a unified market through online trading platform, both, at State and National level and promotes uniformity, streamlining of procedures across the integrated markets, removes information asymmetry between buyers and sellers and promotes real time price discovery, based on actual demand and supply, promotes transparency in auction process, and access to a nationwide market for the farmer, with prices commensurate with quality of his produce and online payment and availability of better quality produce and at more reasonable prices to the consumer.

Apart from the above measures, a multi-pronged approach has been adopted to augment farmers’ income. Efforts are being made to increase in farm income through support to allied activities like fisheries, animal husbandry and dairy products. 850 crore for four dairying projects - ‘Pashudhan Sanjivani’, ‘Nakul Swasthya Patra’, ‘E-Pashudhan Haat’ and National Genomic Centre for indigenous breeds. Rashtriya Gokul Mission launched to conserve and develop indigenous cow breeds. Fish production has increased from 95.72 lakh tones during 2013-14 to 101.64 tonnes during 2014-15 The fish production for 2015-16 is estimated at 107.9 lakh tones. The ‘Saving-cum-Relief’ component provided to fishermen during fishing ban /lean period of three months has been increased to Rs. 1500 per month under Blue Revolution scheme.

There has also been a significant increase in relief provided by Government. For the years 2010-2015, a provision of Rs. 33580.93 crore was made for State Disaster Response Fund. The same has been increased to Rs. 61220 crore for the period 2015-2020. A relief of only Rs. 12516.20 crore was approved between 2010-14 crore to the States affected by drought and hailstorm. The NDA Government in year 2014-15 alone approved an amount of Rs. 9017.998 crore as relief to the States affected by drought and hailstorm. During the year 2015-16, Rs. 13496.57 crore have already been approved for till now.

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Infrastructure and connectivity act as arteries for development and growth of any nation. It is evident that infrastructure development has been given priority by the NDA government under PM Narendra Modi. For fulfilling the dream of New India, the NDA government is focussing on development of railways, roadways, waterways, aviation or affordable housing.

Railways

The Indian rail network is one of the largest railway networks in the world. The pace of track renewal, elimination of unmanned level crossings and commissioning of broad gauge lines has significantly improved during NDA government under PM Modi.

Railways recorded its best-ever safety record with less than 100 accidents in a year in 2017-18. Data reveals that 118 railway accidents were recorded in 2013-14 which have declined to 73 in 2017-18. 5,469 unmanned level crossings have been eliminated, with average pace of elimination at 20% more than that of 2009-14. All unmanned level crossings on broad gauge routes targeted to be eliminated by 2020 for better safety.

Bringing railways development on track, there is a 50% increase in track renewal, from 2,926 km during 2013-14 to 4,405 km during 2017-18. Broad gauge commissioned during 4 years of NDA government under PM Modi (9,528 km) is much greater than that commissioned during 2009-14 (7,600 km).

For the first time Northeast India is fully integrated with the rest of India with the entire network converted to broad gauge. It brought Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram on the rail map of India after 70 years of independence!

For developing New India, we need advanced technology too. The bullet train, planned from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, will reduce travel time from about 8 hrs to 2 hrs.

 

Aviation

Rapid progress is happening in civil aviation sector too. Promising affordable air travel under UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), 25 operational airports have been added in just 4 years, as opposed to 75 airports between Independence and 2014. Regional air connectivity to unserved and underserved airports at subsidised fare of Rs 2,500 per hour has helped to fulfil dream of many Indians to travel by air. Thus, for the first time more people travelled in airplanes than in AC trains.

With passenger traffic growth in the range of 18-20% in the past three years, India has emerged as the world’s third largest aviation market. Number of domestic air passengers crossed 100 million in 2017.

 

Shipping

India is also taking rapid strides in the shipping sector under PM Narendra Modi’s government. Accelerating port-led development, the turn around time at major ports have been reduced by a third, from 94 hrs in 2013-14 to 64 hrs in 2017-18.

Consider the cargo traffic at major ports. It declined from 570.32 MT in 2010-11 to 545.79 MT in 2012-13. However, under the NDA government it improved to 679.367 MT during 2017-18, a whopping increase of more than 100 MT!

Inland waterways significantly reduce the transportation costs and boost the economy apart from reducing carbon foot print. 106 national waterways were added in the last 4 years compared to 5 national waterways in the last 30 years.

Road development

Expansion of highways with multi-modal integration has been taken up under transformative project Bharat Mala Pariyojana. National highway network expanded from 92,851 km in 2013-14 to 1,20,543 km in 2017-18.

Setu Bharatam project for safer roads, with total outlay of Rs. 20,800 crores, envisages building of railway overbridges or under passes to make all National Highways free of railway level crossings.

The pace of road construction has almost doubled. Speed of highways construction was 12 km per day during 2013-14 which stood at 27 km per day as of 2017-18.

 

Development of India’s longest ever tunnel, Chenani-Nashri, in Jammu as well as India’s longest bridge, Dhola-Sadiya, for enhanced connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh are testimony to the commitment to take development to hitherto untapped regions. Building of bridges over Narmada at Bharuch and Chambal at Kota have also improved road connectivity in the regions.

Roads act as catalysts for rural development. Considering its importance, almost 1.69 lakh kms of rural roads have been built in 4 years. Average speed of road construction improved from 69 km per day in 2013-14 to 134 km per day in 2017-18. Presently, rural road connectivity is more than 82%, as against 56% in 2014, making villages become a part of India’s development trajectory.

Tourism has immense potential for employment generation. To enhance pilgrimage experience along with a boost to the tourism sector, Char Dham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojana was launched. It seeks to make journey safer, faster and more convenient. It entails development of around 900 km of national highways at an approximate cost of Rs 12,000 crore.

With boost to the infrastructure, more movement of freight takes place and adds strength to the economy. Due to efforts of the NDA government, highest ever freight loading (1,160 MT) was recorded in the year 2017-18.

Urban transformation

For urban transformation through Smart Cities, around 100 urban centres have been chosen to ensure improved quality of living, sustained urban planning and development. Various development projects in these cities will positively impact almost 10 crore Indians. These projects will cost Rs. 2,01,979 crores.

Around 1 crore affordable houses have been built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in both rural and urban areas. To benefit the middle and neo middle classes, housing loans up to Rs 9 lakh and Rs 12 lakh are eligible for interest subvention of 4% and 3%.