Agri min­is­ter holds meet on strat­egy to tackle farm cri­sis

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - NATION - Jatin Gandhi let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEWDELHI: Union agri­cul­ture min­is­ter Radha Mo­han Singh on Thurs­day met the rul­ing Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) farmer wing lead­ers, as well as par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and agri­cul­ture min­is­ters of Haryana and Bi­har, to chalk out a strat­egy to reach out to farm­ers.

The meet­ing comes amid grow­ing crit­i­cism of the govern­ment over the agrar­ian cri­sis and farm­ers’ ag­i­ta­tions in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try this year.

Sev­eral farm­ers’ or­gan­i­sa­tions and po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents have at­tacked the BJP for not im­ple­ment­ing the Na­tional Farm­ers’ Com­mis­sion rec­om­men­da­tion that farm­ers be paid 50% profit on their in­put costs as re­mu­ner­a­tive price for their pro­duce.

“Farm­ers are not able to avail of the ben­e­fits of the poli­cies and schemes. It is also the duty of the field level work­ers to en­sure that th­ese ben­e­fits reach the farm­ing fam­i­lies,” Singh told BJP lead­ers at the meet jointly chaired by party gen­eral sec­re­tary P Mu­ralid­har Rao. Rao is in charge of the BJP’S ex­pan­sion plan in the south­ern states, where farm dis­tress is among the worst.

The BJP Kisaan Mor­cha an­nounced the launch of what it has dubbed as the world’s largest train­ing pro­gramme for farm­ers – an am­bi­tious cam­paign to train its work­ers in 1,100 blocks across the coun­try on farm­ers’ is­sues and schemes of the Cen­tre that ben­e­fit the farmer. It even­tu­ally aims at reach­ing out to famers’ fam­i­lies in each of th­ese blocks.

“This pro­gramme will con­tinue for three years in all states, in­clud­ing Ker­ala and West Ben­gal, to make farm­ers aware of the work that the BJP govern­ment is do­ing,” Mor­cha vice-pres­i­dent Shailen­dra Sen­gar told HT.

A num­ber of farm­ers’ ag­i­ta­tions have bro­ken out this year, se­verely at­tack­ing the govern­ment for not do­ing enough for the agri­cul­ture sec­tor. Farm­ers in Ut­tar Pradesh, Mad­hya Pradesh, Pun­jab and Ma­ha­rash­tra took to the streets ear­lier this year de­mand­ing re­mu­ner­a­tive prices for their pro­duce.

The ag­i­ta­tions forced the gov­ern­ments in th­ese states to an­nounce loan waivers for dis­tressed famers. With a poor mon­soon this year, ex­perts say famers are pos­si­bly in for an­other round of hard­ships.

Radha Mo­han Singh.

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