Farmers Empowerment is Government’s priority – Piyush Goyal

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Mumbai : Union Minister Shri Piyush Goyal on Saturday said that the recently passed three farm laws are game changing decisions which will improve lives of farmers and double their income. Shri Goyal said that empowering the farmers has been the priority of the government.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai as part of an outreach initiative, the Railway, Commerce & Industry Minister said “the farm Bills passed by Parliament have freed our farmers from decades-old bondage regarding sale of their produce, this will pave the way for fast growth of the nation’s agricultural sector”.

Shri Goyal asserted that the new Farm Laws provide contractual protection to farmers against adverse price variations, while also giving them the freedom to avail benefit of favourable market prices. He added that farmers have now been empowered with the freedom to sell their produce to the right person, at the right place, at the right time, at the right price.

About the minimum support price, the Minister stated that “MSP was there yesterday, is there today, will be there tomorrow.” He said that Government has fixed MSP at 1.5 times of production cost and moreover, it has been extended to many more items. “MSP rate and procurement too have gone up in recent times, even during period of low inflation” he added.

Shri Piyush Goyal said the Government has consistently increased credit guarantee to NAFED, by as much as 20 times in last 6 years, resulting in higher procurement from NAFED, which has led to self sufficiency, particularly in pulses.

The Minister also listed many decisions taken by the Government for welfare of farmers, such as providing security to farmers through PM Fasal Bima Yojana, expansion of Kisan Credit Card and provision of affordable farmers’ loans. “We have made neem-coating compulsory, this has addressed shortage of fertilizers and the problem of diversion of fertilizers away from the farm” the Shri Goyal added.

Allaying fears about contract farming, the Minister said it is only an option and not compulsory. He reiterated that the new law provides for payments to the farmers to be made within three days, and institutional mechanism has been devised for redressing grievances, if any.

Kisan Rail service gets good response.

The Minister said that the Kisan Rail services has received a very good response and the Railways and the Ministry of Agriculture are working to institutionalize the Kisan Rail corridors, to make them season specific to fruits and vegetables. “We are also in discussion with Ministry of Agriculture to start refrigerated coaches for transport of perishable commodities; warehouses are being planned to be developed, to permanently solve problem of wastage of farm produce” he added.

The first Kisan Rail was flagged off from Deolali in Maharashtra to Bihar. There is a proposal now to start a Kisan Rail service from Nagpur to transport oranges to different parts of the country as the orange season sets in.

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