Farmers play a vital role in our lives. Apart from ensuring food security in a world ravaged by conflict, farmers also gain 37% of their income from farm activity. Hence, a strategy focussing on increasing farm incomes is only right as it prepares ground for sustained and robust growth of the entire economy.

This strategy has received an affirming push from Prime Minister Narendra Modi ever since his government took to service in 2014. The Modi government has undertaken a bouquet of measures to fix various ends of farm activity, leading to greater stability and economic viability of farms. In this direction, the government set up a committee in 2016 to suggest measures to double farm incomes, and has acted on its recommendations thereafter with sustained effort and ease.

At the head of these measures is Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN). Touted as one of the largest Direct Benefit Transfer schemes in the world, PM-KISAN provides an annual financial support of Rs. 6,000 to all landholding farmers across the country. This support is playing a vital role in making agriculture not only remunerative but also productive. Till now, benefits amounting to over Rs. 2.61 lakh crore have reached more than 11 crore farmers in the country.

Apart from this direct support, the Modi government provides a host of subsidies to farmers, cushioning them against rising input costs and securing reasonable incomes from farming. It is worth noting that fertiliser subsidies alone cross a budget of nearly Rs. 2 lakh crore annually. However, as much as the government wishes to stabilise farm incomes, it is also conscious of promoting sustainable agriculture along with maintaining fiscal discipline. An initiative like One Nation, One Fertiliser, apart from neem-coated and sulphur-coated urea, is a concrete step in that direction. It not only increases transparency and affordability of fertilisers but also leads to input-use efficiency in the agriculture sector.

State governments also add on to these initiatives by supporting farmers with abundant power subsidies, especially on irrigation. Yet schemes like PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) and PM-KUSUM intend to make this support inclusive and effective. Per Drop More Crop under PMKSY intends to increase water use efficiency by promoting micro irrigation technologies like drip and sprinkler irrigation. A Micro Irrigation Fund has been established for this purpose even as the data reveals that an area of over 78 lakh hectares has been covered under micro irrigation since 2015-16 with the release of central assistance of over Rs. 18,000 crore to states. This not only reduces input costs for farmers but also increases overall farm productivity besides ensuring resource health.

PM KUSUM, on the other hand, provides solar alternatives to the extensive power consumption in agriculture. It promotes solarisation of existing diesel pumps at farms, setting up of small solar power plants on agricultural land, among other things—promoting use of renewable energy and providing additional income avenues to farmers. Nearly 2.46 lakh farmers have benefitted under the scheme as of August 2023.

The biggest motif of the Indian farm story is the Indian monsoon. Agriculture in our country is largely rainfed, extensively prone to droughts and floods. This problem is further compounded by extreme weather events revitalised by the problem of climate change. For example, government studies indicate that in the absence of adaptation measures, rainfed rice yields in India can reduce by 20% in 2050 and 47% in 2080. These events not only impinge on our nation’s food security but also impact the farmers negatively.

In a bid to make farming risk-free, the government launched the PM Fasal Bima Yojana in 2016. The scheme secures farmers, both prior to sowing and post harvesting, from crop loss due to factors including natural calamities, pest attacks and diseases. Insurance coverage under the scheme along with financial assistance to farmers ensure their continuance in agriculture apart from encouraging them to adopt innovative and modern farming practices. Since 2016-17, over 5.5 lakh farmer applications have been insured with Rs. 1.5 lakh crore paid out in claims.

Broadening the safety net for farmers, the Modi government introduced a new Minimum Support Price policy in 2018. The new policy raises MSP for kharif, rabi and commercial crops by at least 50% over the cost of production. Further, farmers are ensured better prices through e-NAM, a unified national market for agricultural commodities. As of today, a total of 1,389 APMC mandis are integrated to the platform across 23 states and 4 UTs, facilitating trade in nearly 209 commodities. Over 1.76 crore farmers are enrolled in this platform as of December 2023.

These efforts have been decorated by multiple other initiatives like mechanisation of agriculture and use of technology at a wider scale. Mechanisation is essential to reduce input costs, modernise agriculture, and give a futuristic outlook to farm activity.

Towards this end, the Modi government has disbursed funds over Rs. 6,000 crore to states between 2014-15 and 2022-23 towards a spectrum of activities like testing, training, establishment of farm machinery banks, development of hi-tech hubs et cetera under the Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanisation. In addition, a commendable 15.24 lakh units of farm machinery and equipment, including tractors, power tillers and automated machinery, have been distributed at subsidised rates via state governments.

PM Modi has often urged innovators and researchers to think about ‘an inch of land and a bunch of crops’. This is a call to find instant technological solutions to farmer problems. In this regard, the government has come up with National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture. Under this, funds are made available to state governments for projects involving the use of modern technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, robotics, block chain, among others. Additionally, a Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) for agriculture is also being built to enable farmer-centric solutions through relevant information services including around farm inputs, market intelligence, credit, and insurance. Efforts are underway to mainstream drone technology for use in agriculture. The government provides financial aid covering 100% of drone costs and associated expenses for on-field demonstrations. A total of Rs. 138 crore has been made available for farmer-centric drone initiatives. Recently, Rs. 1,261 crore have been allocated towards the NAMO Drone Didi scheme—aiming to train 15,000 women SHGs to offer rental services to farmers for activities like application of fertilisers and pesticides.

Helping farmers with their short-term working capital needs, the government has enhanced their access to institutional credit, taking it from Rs. 7.3 lakh crore in 2013-14 to a targeted Rs. 18.5 lakh crore in 2022-23.

These efforts have been supplemented by incomparable initiatives like Kisan Credit Card, the benefits of which have now been extended to farmers engaged in animal husbandry and fisheries. The total number of operative KCC Accounts as of March 2023 is 7.35 crore with a total sanctioned limit of Rs. 8.85 lakh crore.

Logistically, unique initiatives like Kisan Rail and Krishi Udan traverse the agricultural landscape with ease and accessibility, taking the Indian market to the farmgate.

Evidently, the government has upped the ante by taking an all-inclusive approach towards advancing the cause of farm incomes. Other initiatives like Soil Health Card, promotion of organic farming, formation of Farmer Producer Organisations, pursuing additional income generation through ethanol production, and promotion of agri-exports are some of the many dedicated efforts that the Modi government has launched to enliven agriculture as a remunerative activity.

Besides over 1.60 lakh PM Kisan Samridhi Kendras act as central hubs, helping farmers with vital information around soil testing, fertilisers, seeds, farming techniques, and all government schemes, among other things.

The commitment of the Modi government towards enhancing farm incomes is unmatched. Besides increasing the budget of agricultural and allied activities by more than 4.35 times, from Rs. 30,223 crore in 2013-14 to over 1.3 lakh crore in 2023-24, the government is providing an average of Rs. 50,000 to every farmer in some form or the other. The results are for each of us to see. According to the latest Situation Assessment Survey of NSSO (2018-19), monthly agricultural household income has increased from Rs. 6,426 in 2012-13 to Rs. 10,218 in 2018-19.

Apart from these programs and policies to make farming remunerative, Prime Minister Modi’s government has in fact worked admiringly to reorient the entire sector towards inclusivity and sustainability. Promotion of environment and farmer friendly crops, like millets, is a shining example of this approach.

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PM Modi’s Vision Fuels Delhi’s Development
April 12, 2024

“Delhi has the good fortune to get an opportunity of keeping the flag of nations' prestige flying high.”
- PM Narendra Modi as Delhi prepared to host the G20 Summit

The last ten years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government have set in motion the creation of a New India—from rural to urban, from water to electricity, from houses to health, from education to employment, from castes to classes—a comprehensive plan bringing growth and prosperity to each doorstep.

The National Capital Territory of Delhi has emerged as a pivotal part of this dynamic developmental momentum spearheaded by PM Modi throughout this transformative decade.

The city has been at the heart of the infrastructural shift that has given a dedicated facelift to the entire nation. Today infrastructural marvels like Atal Setu, Chenab Bridge, Statue of Unity, and Zojila Tunnel dot India’s ever-evolving landscape.

With its focus on revamping transportation networks, upgrading urban amenities, and expanding digital infrastructure, the Modi government has launched an array of transformative initiatives. From railways, highways to airports, these initiatives have been key in galvanising inclusive and sustainable development across the length and breadth of the country.

The impressive expansion of the metro rail network has revolutionised urban commuting in India. From a mere 5 cities in 2014, the metro rail network now serves 21 cities across the nation—expanding from 248 km in 2014 to 945 km by 2024, with 919 km of lines under construction in 26 additional cities.

The Union Cabinet has recently approved two new corridors of Delhi Metro Phase-IV—Lajpat Nagar to Saket G-Block and Inderlok to Indraprastha. Both the lines have a combined length of over 20 kms with a project cost of over Rs. 8,000 crore (funding being sourced from the Union Govt, Govt of Delhi, and international agencies). The Inderlok- Indraprastha line will play a significant role in enhancing connectivity to the Bahadurgarh region of Haryana. Additionally, India’s first Namo Bharat train, operating on the Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridor further underlines the Modi government’s commitment to enhancing regional connectivity and upgrading its transportation infrastructure.

Further, the Bharatmala Pariyojana envisages improved logistics efficiency and connectivity via the development of nearly 35,000 km of National Highway corridors. 25 greenfield high-speed corridors have been planned under the plan out of which four intersect with Delhi’s growing infra capacity: Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway, Delhi-Saharanpur-Dehradun Expressway, and the Urban Extension Road-II. The total project length sanctioned for Delhi is 203 km with an allocation of over Rs. 18,000 crore.

Over the past decade, the Modi government has consistently dedicated efforts towards augmenting capacity and decongestion of airports. After the IGI Airport Delhi became the first airport in the country to have four runways and an elevated taxiway, the expanded state-of-the-art Terminal 1 has also been inaugurated recently. In addition, the upcoming Noida International Airport (Jewar) shall further contribute to decongestion of the Delhi airport which is serving millions of passengers annually.

Besides, the inauguration of the New Parliament has further added civilisational yet modern connotations to the city’s landscape. Inauguration of the Yashobhoomi (India International Convention & Expo Centre) has given Delhi India’s largest convention and exhibition centre, offering a mixed purpose tourism experience. Along with Yashobhoomi, the Bharat Mandapam, a world-class convention and exhibition centre, showcases India to the world.

In terms of welfare, the Modi government has launched several schemes benefitting people hitherto on the margins of growth and development. Women’s safety in Delhi has been a key concern. To address the same, the Modi government strengthened the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 by increasing the quantum of punishment for rape, including capital punishment for rape of a girlchild below the age of 12.

The Union Home Ministry established a separate Women Safety Division back in 2018. One-stop centers, Sakhi Niwas, Safe City Project, Nirbhaya Fund, SHe-Box, Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences, and Cri-MAC (Crime Multi-Agency Center) among others are significant additions in the government’s campaign towards women safety.

In addition, Swachh Bharat Mission, PM Ujjwala Yojana, PM Matru Vandana Yojana, and Beti Bachao Beti Padhao have further led to the empowerment of Nari Shakti in India.

As India becomes the 3rd largest startup ecosystem in the world, Delhi is also contributing significantly towards this development. Today over 13,000 DPIIT-recognised startups are functioning in Delhi even as the government is promoting self-employment through PM MUDRA Yojana with over 2.3 lakh loans sanctioned worth over Rs. 3,000 crore for FY2023-24 (as on 26.01.2024).

PM SVANidhi, which provides collateral free loans to street vendors, is supporting over 1.67 lakh beneficiaries in Delhi. Further, under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana, launched in 2020 to incentivise employers for creation of new employment and restoration of loss of employment during Covid-19 pandemic, over 2.2 lakh employees benefitted in Delhi.

Further, nearly 30,000 houses have been sanctioned and completed in Delhi under PM Awas Yojana (Urban).

Air pollution has been a recurring problem for the people of Delhi. Conscious of this reality, the central government has launched the National Clean Air Programme as a national level strategy to reduce air pollution level across the country.

The Modi government's tenure over the last decade has brought about a remarkable transformation in Delhi across various fronts. From infrastructure development to governance reforms, from education to employment, the government's initiatives have left an indelible mark on the capital city. As Delhi continues on its journey of progress and development, the contributions of the Modi government are set to shape its future trajectory for years to come.