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Govt ready for talks with 'our brothers', says Anurag Thakur on protesting farmers

He said the government has doubled the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and increased the procurement by more than two times.
Last Updated 22 February 2024, 02:01 IST

New Delhi: The Centre is ready for talks with protesting farmers who are our 'brothers' and 'annadaatas', Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said on Wednesday, asserting that the Modi government has taken various steps to ensure higher income for farmers.

At a cabinet briefing, Thakur said the government is committed to doubling of farmers' income and has taken several steps toward this end.

On whether the issue of farmers protesting at Punjab-Haryana borders was discussed during the Cabinet meeting, the minister said the Centre is ready for talks.

"We were ready for talks earlier and are ready even today and will be ready to discuss their issues even in future," he said, adding that, "we have no problem as they are our brothers and are 'annadatas'."

Thakur highlighted various steps taken by the Modi government to double farmers' income and achieve higher growth in the agriculture and allied sectors.

He said the government has doubled the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and increased the procurement by more than two times.

According to him, the Modi government has spent Rs 18.39 lakh crore in the last 10 years on procurement of wheat, paddy, oilseeds, and pulses as against Rs 5.5 lakh crore by the UPA regime.

He also drew a comparison of the higher MSP paid to farmers during 10 years of NDA government together with higher procurement than during the previous 10 years of UPA regime.

The government has ensured supply of fertilisers at a reasonable rates, he said.

"India is paying the highest price for sugarcane in the world," he said, referring to the Cabinet decision to hike sugarcane prices for farmers by 8 per cent to be paid to them by sugar mills.

"We have hiked Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane by 8 per cent in the interest of farmers," he said, adding that it has been raised from Rs 315 per quintal to Rs 340 this year.

Thakur claimed that the government is paying 107 per cent higher for sugarcane to farmers than the A2 plus FL cost formula for sugarcane.

Under PM-KISAN scheme, Thakur said the government has paid Rs 2.81 lakh crore to around 12 crore farmers.

He attacked the Congress for not doing enough for farmers, saying "Congress ke samay na samman tha na nidhi this".

Under PM-KISAN, the Centre pays Rs 6,000 per year to eligible farmers in three equal instalments.

"This is our commitment and duty towards the farmers," he said.

Earlier in the day, Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda, while talking to PTI, had said the interest of farmers across the country should be taken into account while dealing with demands raised by the protesting farmers at the Punjab-Haryana borders, and appealed to them to come for another round of discussions.

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(Published 22 February 2024, 02:01 IST)

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