OBSERVING THAT more than 80 per cent of the farmers have less than two hectares of land, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that agricultural reforms and “critical decision” are being undertaken keeping in mind these small farmers, as he coined a new slogan – “Chhota kisan, bane desh ki shaan (small farmer becomes the nation’s pride)”.
Addressing the nation from the Red Fort on the 75th Independence Day, Modi said: “We need to take cognizance of a major challenge posed in our agriculture sector. Challenge of shrinking of land of villagers which is due to immense rise in population, and smaller land holdings due to the divisions happening in the family. Farming land has shrunk alarmingly.”
“More than 80 per cent of the farmers of the country are those who have less than two hectares of land. If we see, 80 out of 100 farmers have less than two hectares of land i.e. the farmers of our country are practically in the small farmer category,” he said.
“Unfortunately, small farmers remained excluded from the benefits of the yesteryear’s policies in the country. They did not get their due importance. Now, keeping in mind these small farmers in the country, agricultural reforms are being undertaken, and critical decisions are being taken to benefit them,” the Prime Minister said.
Listing initiatives like change in the crop insurance scheme or increasing the minimum support price by “one and a half times”, he said, “All these efforts will increase the power of the small farmer.”
In the coming times, a campaign will also be launched to create a warehouse facility up to the block level, the Prime Minister said.
He further said that the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana is being run keeping in mind the “small expenses” of every small farmer.
“So far, more than 1.5 lakh crore has been deposited directly into the bank accounts of more than 10 crore farmer families,” he said.
“The small farmer is now our resolve and mantra for us. Chhota kisan, bane desh ki shaan. This is our dream. In the coming years, we will have to increase the collective power of the small farmers of the country. New facilities have to be provided,” he said.
The Prime Minister noted that Kisan Rail is operating on more than 70 rail routes in the country. “Kisan Rail can help small farmers with this modern facility to reach far-flung areas on a low cost of produce and transportation,” he said.
“Several products like Kamalam, Shahi litchi, Bhut Jolokia chillis, black rice or turmeric are being exported to different countries of the world. Today, the country feels delighted when the aroma of these products produced in the soil of India reaches different countries of the world. Today the world is developing a taste for the vegetables and food grains grown in the fields of India,” he said.
The Prime Minister also spoke about the Swamitva Yojana and described it as an example of one of the initiatives taken to boost the capabilities of the villages. “The goal of ‘Amrit Kaal’ is to create an India where the level of facilities is not dividing the village and the city,” he said.
He called for achieving a 100-percent saturation target under the various schemes.“All the villages should have roads, all the households should have bank accounts, all the beneficiaries should have Ayushman Bharat cards and all the eligible persons should get the benefit of Ujjwala Yojana and should have gas connections,” he said.