Modi releases Rs 18,000 cr under PM-KISAN scheme, says ‘Opposition spreading lies’ on farm laws, ups ante against TMC

Modi released Rs 2,000 each to over 9 crore farmers as part of a 2018 income support scheme while the farmers' protests against the Centre's three farm laws entered Day 30

FP Staff December 25, 2020 16:12:33 IST
Modi releases Rs 18,000 cr under PM-KISAN scheme, says ‘Opposition spreading lies’ on farm laws, ups ante against TMC

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing nine crore farmers on Friday. ANI

In an interaction with farmers of six states on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released Rs 18,000 crore as part of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi or PM-KISAN income support scheme for over nine crore farmers while reiterating his govt allegation that the Opposition is “pushing a political agenda” by “spreading myths and lies” over the new agri laws.

The monetary scheme has come amid the Central Government facing protests from farmers along Delhi borders against three new farm laws.

“Some parties are pushing a political agenda by opposing the new farm laws. Some people are spreading myths and lies that land will be taken away if farmers enter into contract farming,” Modi alleged.

The interaction was part of a massive outreach programme planned by the BJP-led Central Government at a time when the talks over the three laws between farmers' unions and the Centre have hit an impasse. Lakhs of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and other states are protesting against the three laws along Delhi’s borders since 26 November.

While putting up a strong defence of the three new farm laws, Modi said the Centre is willing to resume the dialogue on all farmers-related issues, even with those staunchly opposed to his government as long as the talks are based on issues, facts and logic. On Thursday, Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal had extended a fresh invite to protesting farmers' unions for talks, but made it clear that it would not be "logical" to include in the agenda any new demand related to minimum support price (MSP). The farmers have demanded that the govt pass a law guaranteeing MSP for agriculture produce.

His address followed the release of over Rs 18,000 crore to more than nine crore farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme. With the push of a button, Modi enabled the transfer of money at an event which the ruling BJP has made into a mega exercise to reach out to farmers by having its leaders interact with the farming community at more than 19,000 venues across the country and also listen to the prime minister's address.

Modi released the instalment of Rs 2,000 to every farmer on the birth anniversary of the former prime minister and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee celebrated as "Good Governance Day" by the ruling party.

Under the PM-KISAN scheme, launched in 2018, a financial benefit of Rs 6,000 per year is provided to small and marginal farmers, payable in three equal instalments of Rs 2,000 each. The fund is transferred directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.

Political rivals misusing farmers' protest to push their agenda, says PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday squarely blamed those with political agenda for the deadlock in the government's talks with protesting farmers and said genuine apprehensions about MSP guarantee have got overshadowed by unrelated issues such as the release of those accused of violence and making highways toll-free.

He claimed that an overwhelming number of farmers across the country have welcomed the new laws and are already reaping the benefits, and listed out the BJP's performance in panchayat elections across states, in which farmers were the main voters.

He said the parties rejected by the electorate are pushing their own political agenda by misleading farmers.

Referring to the protests, Modi said farmers had some genuine apprehensions about new laws including on MSP guarantee when the agitation started, but soon people with political affiliations came in between and started firing from peasants' shoulders to push their own and unrelated demands.

"You would have seen that when the agitation started their demand was about MSP guarantee. They had genuine issues because they were farmers. But then those with political ideology took over," Modi claimed.

"MSP, etcetera were pushed aside and now what is happening. They are demanding release from jail of those accused of violence... They want highways toll-free. Why have they shifted from farmer's issues to new demands?" he asked.

"Despite that, farmers across the country have wholehearted welcome agriculture reforms I assure you that I will not let you down," Modi claimed.

Modi also alleged that the farmers' protest is also being used now for opposing many existing policies.

Though the prime minister did not name any particular group, he made several references that appeared aimed at Left-affiliated outfits and other Opposition parties.

He said those with political agenda are not letting farmers engage in dialogue with the government to address their concerns. He hit out at various opposition parties for misleading farmers.

PM slams Bengal govt for blocking central benefits from reaching farmers

On Friday, the prime minister lashed out at Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal while alleging that it has "destroyed the state" and was doing politics by stopping over 70 lakh farmers of the state from getting benefits of the PM-KISAN scheme.

The prime minister wondered while there were agitations against the new farm bills, no protests were visible against West Bengal's decision of not implementing the PM-Kisan scheme.

Around 70 lakh farmers of West Bengal are not getting the benefit of this scheme, which is fully funded by the Centre, he said while addressing a virtual event after releasing Rs 18,000 crore under the income support scheme.

Assembly elections are due in West Bengal by the middle of this year.

He said the entire country is benefiting from the PM-KISAN programme, but only one state, West Bengal, has not implemented this scheme.

As a result, over 70 lakh farmers are not able to take benefit of this scheme and this money is not reaching them, he claimed, adding that this is because of political reasons.

Modi said more than 23 lakh West Bengal farmers have applied online to take advantage of this scheme, but the state government has stopped the verification process for so long.

"Why there was no protest for ensuring PM-KISAN money?" he asked.

"If you listen to 15 years old speech of MamataJi, then you will know how much this ideology has ruined Bengal," he alleged.

Modi also alleged that everyone knows how the state has been ruined by the political ideology of those who ruled there for decades.

"The public is watching those doing selfish politics very closely. The parties who do not speak on the benefit of farmers in West Bengal are engaged in harassing the citizens of Delhi in the name of farmers and are ruining the economy of the country," he said.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh, are camping on various Delhi borders for almost a month to protest against the three farm laws.

At least five rounds of formal talks have failed to break the deadlock with the farmer groups refusing to accept anything less than the complete repeal of the laws.

While the government has projected these laws as major reforms aimed at benefitting farmers, protesting unions have been saying that these legislations would leave them at the mercy of corporates by weakening the MSP and mandi systems.

The government has maintained that such apprehensions were unfounded as the MSP and mandi systems are not just continuing but also expanded and strengthened further.

With inputs from PTI

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