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Centre giving priority to villages, focusing on improving lives of small farmers: PM Modi

Referring to the BJP government's ambitious plan of creating 10,000 FPOs or Farmer Producer Organisations, PM Modi said his government was on a mission to turn small farmers into 'agri entrepreneurs and exporters'.
Last Updated 22 February 2024, 14:16 IST

Ahmedabad: Amid farmers' protest on the borders between Punjab and Haryana, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said his government was giving priority to every aspect linked to villages and also focusing on improving the lives of small farmers through various schemes and initiatives.

He said strengthening the rural economy was necessary to achieve the goal of a Viksit Bharat (developed India). The PM was addressing a gathering of nearly one lakh people, mostly cattle-rearers and farmers, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera area of Ahmedabad on the golden jubilee celebration of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which owns the 'Amul' dairy brand.

Referring to the BJP government's ambitious plan of creating 10,000 FPOs or Farmer Producer Organisations, PM Modi said his government was on a mission to turn small farmers into "agri entrepreneurs and exporters".

In his address, he listed many schemes meant for farmers and village-dwellers, such as Micro ATMs, GOBARdhan scheme and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samridhi Kendras.

"With Micro ATMs installed in villages, cattle-rearers don't have to go far to withdraw cash. We are also planning to give RuPay credit cards to cattle-rearers. As a pilot project, we have launched that scheme in Banaskantha and Panchmahal districts here," he said.

Mahatma Gandhi used to say that India's soul rests in her villages. Therefore, in order to create Viksit Bharat (developed India), we must have a strong rural economy, he added.

"We are giving priority to each and every aspect of villages and our focus is on improving the lives of small farmers, on improving the health of livestock and how farmers get more income through allied activities such as fishing and bee-keeping. That is why we have decided to give Kisan credit cards to fishermen and cattle-rearers too," he said.

Modi said his government also gave seeds that are capable of fighting the effects of climate change. To protect livestock from the deadly foot-and-mouth disease, his government has launched a free vaccination drive for cattle at a cost of Rs 15,000 crore and nearly 60 crore jabs were already given, he added.

"We have also set up Kisan Samridhi Kendras across the country so that farmers get scientific solutions to their problems near their villages. We are also making arrangements to help farmers in making organic fertilisers," he said.

Referring to solar panel installations in fields and setting up of bio-gas plants which in turn produce bio-fertiliser from cow dung, the PM said his government wants to turn "anna data" into "urja data" and "uvarak data" (food grain growers into producers of energy and fertilisers).

"We are providing solar-based pumps and helping farmers in installing solar plants in their fields. Under our GOBARdhan project, we will buy cow dung from farmers to produce gas. This bio-gas is then used for producing electricity for dairy plants. The bio-fertiliser produced during that process will be given back to farmers," Modi said.

The BJP government at the Centre is planning to create 10,000 FPOs or Farmer Producer Organisations or FPOs and nearly 8,000 have already been created, the prime minister added.

"These FPOs are big organisations of small farmers. This is our mission to turn small farmers into agri entrepreneurs and exporters. We are also providing crores of rupees as assistance to such FPOs and PACS (Primary Agricultural Credit Societies)," he said.

PM Modi informed the audience that his government took some important decisions during the cabinet meeting held late on Wednesday night. Among others, the government has decided to reduce the premium to be paid by farmers under the Livestock Insurance programme, he said.

Referring to the past droughts in Gujarat and the hardships faced by people, Modi said Narmada river water has now changed the fortunes of the arid regions which were hit badly earlier.

"We also constructed 60,000 Amrit Sarovars (lakes), which will help in strengthening the rural economy. Our efforts are to connect farmers with the latest technology, such as drip-irrigation. In Gujarat, this irrigation method has become popular over the years and the state government also provides assistance to farmers to adopt this irrigation technique," the PM said.

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(Published 22 February 2024, 14:16 IST)

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