Mumbai: Often under attack from the Opposition over agrarian issues, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday reached out to farmers and reaffirmed his government’s commitment towards working for doubling their income by 2022. He also assured that the Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme will benefit “only the farmers and not private companies”. His comments came in the wake of the recent allegations of a scam in the scheme by parties like BJP’s ally Shiv Sena, the AAP and renowned journalist P Sainath. “Our target is to double the income of farmers by 2022. We are implementing various schemes of the central and state governments for farmers, and we are going to do it (double their income by 2022),” Fadnavis said.
He was interacting with farmers from different regions of the state through video conferencing. The government has approved Rs 24,000 crore worth loan waiver for the state’s 51 lakh farmers holding bank accounts, he said. The government has also made available more than Rs 10,000 crore fund through budget for the current fiscal to implement various schemes meant for them, he said in his over two hour-long interaction, called ‘Lok Samvad’. He told farmers from districts like Jalna, Palghar, Ahmednagar, Chandrapur, Yavatmal, Osmanabad, Parbhani, Gondia, Jalgaon and others that the government was laying stress on use of modern technologies to help them tackle weather uncertainties.
The government distributed compensation worth Rs 15,240 crore to farmers whose crops were hit by natural calamities, he said. Fadnavis claimed the government was “successful” in giving relief to farmers through the PM’s crop insurance scheme. Around 55 lakh farmers were given compensation worth “thousands of crores” under the scheme, he added. When a farmer said there was “confusion” among cultivators that the scheme benefited insurance companies more than them, Fadnavis said, “We will ensure only the farmers benefit by the scheme and not the companies.” On his government’s flagship Jalyukta Shivar water conservation scheme, the chief minister said it helped 16,000 villages across the state to become water-sufficient.
Nearly 1.37 lakh farm ponds were also created on demand-supply basis, he said. Fadnavis said funds worth Rs 34,000 crore were made available by his government till now for completing the pending works on dams. Also, 18,000 tractors were distributed among the state’s farmers under his government’s watch, he said, and stressed on processing foods to ensure cultivators benefit by getting fair price for their produce. He also said that steps were being taken to provide fodder for livestock in areas facing drought-like situation.
On the occasion, Fadnavis launched the ‘Maha Agritech’ programme to solve agrarian problems with the help of satellite. “Under the programme, the crop cycle can be tracked from sowing to harvesting stages… it will help foretell the prices that farmers’ produces can fetch,” he said, emphasising on the use of technology for helping cultivators.