"Farmers are the first priority"

by Jeremy Spirogis
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The financial disaster of the Corona disaster and lockdown is simply in farming and small and casual sector enterprises, on which all financial specialists be in agreement. The bumper crop of rabi is predicted to reinforce the financial system. But there are a lot of issues in harvesting and shopping for and promoting of rabi crops. Shortages of labor, transportation and authorities procurement may cause big losses. The authorities's steps are being instructed a bit of and the aid just isn’t as anticipated. Therefore, the hope of lively authorities can flip this ray into mild. In such a state of affairs, the entire authorities is on the shoulder of the Ministry of Agriculture. Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Rural Development, Narendra Singh Tomar, who is understood for his involvement in campaigning with out publicity, mentions many steps with hope and steady enchancment, which haven’t but made headlines. <! –

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                 Editor Harvir Singh discussed intimately the federal government's priorities and technique. Excerpts:

A report manufacturing of meals grains is predicted this yr, however what’s the authorities doing to beat the issues of Corona disaster and lockdown on the time of harvesting of rabi crops?

The corona disaster unfold all around the world is testing us. We are a big agricultural nation. Our well being providers are insufficient to take care of such epidemics. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced a lockdown to restrict the epidemic, he had assessed adversity on the similar time. The agriculture sector was additionally anticipated to be adversely affected. Agriculture sector was given appreciable significance within the choices of the federal government. The authorities exempted farmers and laborers from lockdown to reap crops. The authorities additionally thought in time to supply the farmers with the suitable value for his or her crops. This is the rationale that farmers made various preparations earlier than the motion began. Farmers, working as Corona warriors of their area, harvested pulses and oilseeds crops ten-twelve days in the past. Wheat can be being harvested from harvesters. About 70 % harvesting has been accomplished. In states the place sowing is delayed, harvesting is occurring. The farmer can not maintain his crops at dwelling, he has to promote instantly. The authorities has requested the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and Nafed to make sufficient preparations for the acquisition. FCI and Nafed are buying below a decentralized association with the states. We have requested states to extend the variety of procurement facilities in order that social distancing could be adopted.

This is probably the primary time within the nation that there isn’t a scarcity of meals grains and vegetables and fruit in such a disaster. There is a variety of meals grains within the nation. Is the farmer not entitled to the credit score?

All in all, the peasants have performed their roles as Corona warriors effectively. This is the rationale that even throughout the lockdown, availability of important commodities like meals grains, greens, milk grew to become simple and costs have been additionally managed. Government insurance policies have their very own function however farmers have to be given credit score for it. We thank the farmers for this.

In truth, the acquisition has began since April 20. Are you monitoring whether or not tokens are being issued to farmers arriving in wheat procurement facilities and mandis within the states, sending messages by SMS and buying easily? Are social distancing requirements being adopted at mandis and procurement facilities?

The system of sending messages to farmers by SMS was first launched in Madhya Pradesh. In view of the state of affairs, different states have additionally applied it. Social distancing is being adopted at procurement facilities. We are monitoring the whole system on the state and central degree. I maintain speaking to Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. There is discuss with the states as effectively. The arrival was gradual within the first three-four days of buy, however now work goes easily.

The Ministry made a number of modifications in its orders relating to the transportation of produce, opening of fertilizer-seed and gear outlets. States have been requested to amend the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act in order that the Farmer Producer Organization can purchase straight from farmers, promote by e-NAM. What steps did the states soak up these circumstances?

Many states like Telangana, Tamil Nadu have allowed partial or another type of advisory of the central authorities. There is not any APMC in Bihar. All states are taking care that farmers don’t have hassle promoting produce. In greater than 14 states, vegetables and fruit have been excluded from the APMC. E-NAM can be getting used. We are including 415 out of 585 mandis. This will make shopping for simpler. There have been issues in transporting agricultural produce. After the elimination of the ban by the Union Home Ministry, there isn’t a downside now. We have arrange a management room, the place any driver or farmer from throughout the nation can complain about stopping the agricultural produce car. The officers current within the management room are speaking instantly and getting an answer. We launched 'Kisan Web Help Desk' on 15 April. In addition to farmers, drivers will also be registered. Five lakh small and massive autos have been registered up to now. This app has introduced farmers and transporters on one platform. Farmers can make bookings on the app to maneuver their crops from one place to a different. The freight can be mounted on this app. Locked drivers are allowed to drive to their car and carry agricultural produce within the car.

The manufacturing of horticultural crops has exceeded that of meals grains. Horticultural crops are of excessive worth and perish rapidly. There have been studies of difficulties in carrying potatoes, mangoes, tomatoes, and many others. to the farmers. What resolution did you discover for this downside and what’s the authorities pondering to compensate for the lack of farmers?

The farmers suffered partial loss. But there was no scarcity of greens and fruits within the cities and costs additionally didn’t rise. One side of that is that because of the good value, not solely greens from the villages, however milk was additionally despatched in full amount to the cities. They used to get scarce in villages. Their availability in villages elevated throughout the lockdown. The farmers did some injury, however the market intervention scheme (MIS) is benefiting the fruit producing farmers. In this scheme, fruits are being procured in collaboration with the states.

What is the progress in procurement of pulses and oilseeds?

Production of pulses and oilseeds has been good. Government procurement of those crops can be being finished together with wheat. NAFED procures and mills pulses and transmits them to customers.

The cooperative sector procured and distributed good milk throughout the lockdown. But resulting from retail dairies and retail purchases of confectioners and many others., farmers suffered enormously.

It is true that there was some loss to farmers resulting from retail dairies affecting the personal dairies and cities, however presently the rivers of milk are flowing within the villages. At this time milk-curd is out there in abundance within the villages.

Recently the federal government has postponed the reimbursement of loans to farmers. Farmers will get the advantage of 4 % concessional curiosity on reimbursement of loans until 31 May. Is the federal government bringing every other bundle for the farmers?

The authorities has disbursed Rs 17,876 crore to 9 crore farmers below the Kisan Samman Nidhi in April. Rs 7,300 crore was given to the states for rural improvement. All the dues of the laborers have been paid below the MNREGA. 20,000 crore has been given to the states for additional MNREGA works. Through Jan Dhan accounts, 20.40 crore ladies got help of Rs 10,200 crore and a pair of.84 crore aged and in another way abled. 36,000 crore rupees was offered by our ministry. If the PM Kisan Nidhi is added to this, then the quantity stands at Rs 57,000 crore.

To take care of the Corona disaster, the Finance Ministry is getting ready a second bundle after the primary bundle of Rs 1.70 lakh crore. Is there a risk of offering monetary help to farmers within the second bundle.

It just isn’t attainable to say something proper now. 75,000 crore rupees is being offered from PM farmer. Some time in the past, we began a marketing campaign to present Kisan Credit Cards to 2 and a half crores of remaining farmers. It was began by Chitrakoot by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In simply 15 days, 85 lakh farmers registered for it. Banks have issued playing cards to 18 lakh farmers, through which they’ve been given the power to withdraw loans as much as three lakh rupees. Our effort is to distribute playing cards to no less than one crore farmers. This will present loans price Rs 65,000 crore to the farmers.

The authorities paid the dues of the MNREGA staff and in addition elevated the scope of labor below it. The laborers are being employed in MNREGA at a time when the harvesting season is occurring. Will it not trigger issues? Are there plans to contain agricultural actions in MNREGA works?

There are 264 kinds of works below MNREGA, out of which 162 works are associated to agriculture. It might be troublesome to maintain an account of the MNREGA on sending staff to the fields. The authorities thinks that after we are spending 60-70 thousand crores on this merchandise yearly, then property must be made. We are working to take care of the water disaster by this. There can be a indisputable fact that a lot of the MNREGA staff don’t exit. The staff who work as everlasting staff within the factories, contract staff and the sector staff who go to the fields are totally different. Factories and contract staff returned to their properties when the work was stopped throughout the lockdown. But the agricultural laborers had both reached the fields as a result of the harvesting had already began or they might not come out. With a view to proceed financial actions in rural areas, the federal government has given permission to start out work in MNREGA, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Rural) and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. People looking for employment from these schemes are getting jobs. We have additionally given Rs 1,000 crore in PM Awas Yojana. About 48 lakh homes have been constructed within the states however they’re but to be accomplished.

In the current state of affairs do you assume that the variety of human days in MNREGA will improve.

In the final monetary yr, MNREGA had a funds of 60 thousand crore rupees, whereas 71 thousand crores was spent on it. The new fiscal yr has simply began. Due to monetary constraints, a funds of 61 thousand crores has been saved this time. It is estimated that greater than 80 thousand crore rupees might be spent this yr resulting from improve in wages resulting from improve in wages and Corona disaster. For this, now we have to rearrange extra funds.

Due to the Corona disaster and the lockdown, the laborers have reached the villages. They won’t rush in direction of cities for work. They will want a brand new job card. Can new playing cards be created?

There is not any restriction on making new playing cards. Any individual can produce a job card by presenting his id card. There is not any downside on this.

Experts say that agriculture and rural financial system would be the engines of development in popping out of the present disaster. Here the lockdown didn’t have a lot impact. Do you assume a extra correct technique must be adopted for agriculture and rural financial system with the intention of constructing it an efficient engine of the nation's financial system?

There was some disruption in financial exercise throughout the lockdown in rural areas, however the first was to open up the agricultural financial system if financial exercise was allowed a number of days after Lockdown-2 was applied. After the lockdown is over, the state and district administration should pursue financial actions conserving in thoughts the social distancing and well being advisory. Economic actions could be accelerated in response to the necessity of every area. In districts the place there are not any infections and no hotspots, actions can intensify. Gradually, folks may also notice that if they are going to keep away from touching something, making use of masks and utilizing sanitizer won’t trigger an infection. There is a have to take these measures and perform actions on the district degree.

The central pool has appreciable inventory of meals grains. During the time of epidemic, there’s demand for meals gadgets like sugar, meat, fruits and many others. in the entire world. Can we undertake a method for exports, the place restrictions are much less and we are able to reap the benefits of this chance by rising agricultural exports?

The authorities is critical on this matter. The involved ministries are performing at their degree. The Ministry of Agriculture, in affiliation with the Ministry of Commerce, spoke to the exporters sending agricultural commodities overseas by video conferencing. We are contemplating their solutions and can take needed steps quickly.

Export actions are additionally anticipated to be regular in a month or two. Today we’re able of benefit by way of agriculture and meals merchandise, will we have the ability to take full benefit of this chance?

Certainly, all issues might be overcome in a while. Exports from India might be sooner and we can create new alternatives for the nation even in these troublesome instances.

There has been a political change in Madhya Pradesh favorable to your celebration. Your authorities has additionally been fashioned and a small cupboard was additionally fashioned. इस बारे में आप क्या कहना चाहेंगे?

तीन मई के बाद जल्दी ही मध्य प्रदेश की भाजपा सरकार का मंत्रिमंडल विस्तार भी होगा। इस समय कोरोना को छोड़कर कोई दूसरा मुद्दा ही नहीं है। इसलिए कुछ भी कहने की गुंजाइश नहीं है। लेकिन मैं यह अवश्य कह सकता हूं कि मध्य प्रदेश की सरकार इस संकट से निपटने के लिए पूरी ताकत और तन्मयता से काम कर रही है। उम्मीद है कि मध्य प्रदेश में हालात जल्दी ही सामान्य होंगे। भोपाल और इंदौर में ही स्थिति ज्यादा गंभीर है। पर यहां भी स्थिति जल्दी ही नियंत्रण में होगी।

आपके मंत्रालय का राज्यों से तालमेल बहुत महत्वपूर्ण होता है। मौजूदा दौर में आपको राज्यों से कैसा सहयोग मिल रहा है?

हमें सभी राज्यों से सहयोग मिल रहा है। हमने राज्यों के कृषि और ग्रामीण विकास मंत्रियों से वीडियो कॉन्फ्रेसिंग से बात की है। सभी राज्य काम कर रहे हैं और केंद्र के निर्देशों का पालन करना चाहते हैं। आज के समय में सबकी एक ही प्राथमिकता है कि लोगों की जिंदगी बचाई जाए और कृषि और ग्रामीण गतिविधियों को आगे बढ़ाया जाए। सभी इस मामले में एकमत हैं। इसका सकारात्मक असर होगा।

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