Amid the farmers’ stir against the new central farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asserted the Centre was working to empower small farmers, which numbered 80 per cent of the community.
Addressing a public meeting at Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh, Modi asserted more than 80 per cent of the Indian farmers possessed land holdings of less than 2 hectares even as he observed that the domestic rural economy was now moving towards a transformation.
“The central government is looking to empower the small farmers through various schemes, such as hiking the minimum support price (MSP), Kisan Credit Card (KCC), insurance, pension scheme etc,” he informed.
The PM claimed the Centre had so far done direct transfers of Rs 1 trillion to farmers, of which Rs 25,000 crore had gone to the UP farmers.
The unrelenting farm stir is led by Jat leader Rakesh Tikait of Western UP. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is worried about its poll prospects in the wake of the next UP polls, which will be held in the early months of 2022. The agitating farmers claim the new farm laws will disempower them, and subsequently, the MSP system would be weakened in favour of private buyers – a charge vehemently denied by the Centre.
Nonetheless, the BJP government has been proactively taking measures to placate the farmers with its social outreach programmes coupled with special government schemes.
In this regard, Modi also invoked former PM Chaudhary Charan Singh, the tallest Jat leader of the country, saying the latter had shown the path of bringing about prosperity in the lives of small farmers and labourers so that they could eke out a decent living.
Meanwhile, the PM said the Centre’s roadmap of hiking the ethanol blending ratio would also result in higher rural earnings especially UP in the coming years. UP is the country’s largest sugarcane and ethanol, a sugarcane byproduct, producer.