On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a six-lane widening project of the Varanasi-Prayagraj section of NH-19, he also celebrated ‘dev deepawali’ at Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency. While the farmers’ protest on the Delhi border grows in strength and gains solidarity from across the country and around the world, not a single member of the Union cabinet has visited till now.
Union Home Minister has put a condition that a meeting will happen after they shift the protest to the open grounds at Burari, and the Agriculture Minister may speak to them only on December 3, it was the Prime Minister who had to even acknowledge the indian farmer. He started his address at Ganga ghats with ‘jo bole so nihal… and wished people on the occasion of Gurupurab, Guru Nanak Dev’s birth celebrations, among other salutations.
However, he had no words of assurance for the lakhs of sitting in protest in Delhi, and elsewhere. The Prime Minister has told the farmers that the “new agricultural reforms have given farmers new options and new legal protection and at the same time the old system also continues if someone chooses to stay with it.”
The Prime Minister said that farmers too “would benefit greatly when modern connectivity expands in the area” and that over the years, efforts have been made to create “infrastructure like cold storage alongwith modern roads in the villages” with a fund of Rs 1 lakh crore rupees has also been created for this. According to the PM, the farmers have been benefiting from the government’s efforts and modern infrastructure.
According to the Prime Minister the “new agricultural reforms have given farmers new options and new legal protection and at the same time the old system also continues if someone chooses to stay with that”. The PM said the criticism seen now “is based on mere apprehensions” adding that “confusion is being spread in society about what has not happened yet, which will never happen” adding that “a very meager MSP purchase used to take place. This deception went on for years. Large loan waiver packages were announced in the name of farmers, but they did not reach the small and marginal farmers.” He accused previous governments of “deceit in the name of schemes” he says were launched in the names of farmers. This “deception” he said has made the farmers “ apprehensive about the promises of governments”, he accused the Opposition of spreading “lies”.
The PM said his Government has “delivered on the promise of stopping the black marketing of urea and giving enough urea to the farmers” and has “delivered on the promise of fixing MSP at 1.5 times the cost in line with the recommendation of the Swaminathan Commission. This promise was not only fulfilled on paper, but has reached the bank account of the farmers.”
“In the subsequent 5 years, we have passed 5 lakh crore rupees as MSP of paddy to the farmers. That is, almost two and a half times more money has reached the farmer” he added that “in the 5 years before 2014, farmers got around Rs. 1.5 lakh crore on the purchase of wheat. In the subsequent 5 years, wheat farmers have got Rs 3 lakh crores i.e. around 2 times.” The PM has claimed that this is an indication that the MSP will not be dismantled and that “the government is spending crores of rupees to modernize the mandis.”
According to the Prime Minister the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, scheme advantage is not reaching farmers in non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governed states, due to political interests. He claimed that financial assistance is being “provided directly to the bank accounts of more than 10 crore farmer families of the country. So far, about 1 lakh crore rupees have been reached to the farmers.” Work is being done with intentions as pure as Gangajal,” said the PM. However he has yet to announce if and when the representatives of the lakhs of farmers now sitting on a peaceful protest can meet him.