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Shivraj Government infuses happiness and prosperity in farmers’ life

 

भोपाल : बुधवार, जुलाई 1, 2020, 21:43 IST

A great hero to farmers and the son of a farmer, Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan, along with combating corona crisis, immediately thought about the welfare of farmers after taking the oath of the office of Chief Minister. The crop had been harvested; procurement at support price used to start from March 15 but the State was not ready with any preparation to commence the procurement activity when Shivraj Singh Chouhan swore in as Chief Minister on March 23. Farmers were tensed and worried whether their wheat will be procured or not this year amidst the frightening scenario of Covid-19. As soon as Shri Chouhan took the oath, he started preparations for wheat procurement resulting in procurement that commenced from April 15. Despite adverse situation, the state set an All Time Record in wheat procurement this year with better preparations and constant monitoring.

Madhya Pradesh while accomplishing a historical task created a new identity as a leading state in the country in terms of wheat procurement. Farmers of Madhya Pradesh are the backbone of the states economy. Madhya Pradesh has snatched the first place from Punjab state, which was always ahead when it came to wheat production and procurement in the country. The state has set a new history by procuring more than 129 lakh MT of wheat in the current year.

Timely payment against the procured wheat was also ensured by the government. Till date an amount of over Rs. 25 thousand crore has already been deposited in the accounts of the farmers. Owing to corona crisis and lockdown, payment against the procurement has been given on priority basis to the farmers, which resulted in boosting the rural economy. Under the wheat procurement, the government has succeeded in directly benefitting the small and marginal farmers first.

Farmers in Madhya Pradesh were unable to receive the insurance amount, owing to the non-payment of premium amount of Rs. 2200 crore against Kharif and Rabi crops by the erstwhile government to insurance companies. The Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan decided to pay the insurance amount and as a result, the farmers received the insurance amount of Rs 2900 crore. Madhya Pradesh government also ensured arrangements for crop harvesting. A scheme to give loans to farmers at zero percent interest rate was reintroduced. Gram, Moong and Urad were also procured by the government. Even, Gram mixed with up to 2 percent tiwda was procured. In Madhya Pradesh, daily procurement limit of 40 quintals of gram, red lentil, mustard per person was abolished, which facilitated the farmers to sell the entire produce at support price.

New era for farmers of Madhya Pradesh

Corona pandemic has blessed farmers with a reward that they had been waiting for a long time in normal times. In order to protect the farmers from economic problems during the Corona crisis, Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan miraculously linked farmers with the global marketing by amending the Mandi Act. Freedom of middlemen from the license raj can also be said to be an opportunity for the farmers to strengthen themselves financially. The economy of the whole world is collapsing during the Corona crisis. Agriculture and farmers are also at the center of economic discourse in the country. The Government of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at the Centre has handed over a Model Act to the State Governments for marketing of agricultural commodities. The government's intention is to have a uniform market system for agricultural commodities across the country so that farmers can get better options to sell their produce. The previous government of the state kept it in abeyance. When Shri Chauhan got an opportunity to run the government for the fourth time, he took a major farmer-friendly step by amending the Mandi Act in this period of crisis. Madhya Pradesh is the first state in the country where the Mandi Act has been amended in the interest of farmers.

The amendment in the Mandi Act will directly benefit the farmers and now they will get maximum benefit from their production. For this, farmers will no longer need to visit mandis. They had to wait for long in mandis and used to face many problems pertaining to the quality of their produce. After amendment of the Mandi Act, now farmers can sell their crop to private traders from home itself.

Obviously, problems of farmers were sure to increase manifold due to the safety standards being adopted in this period of Corona pandemic. The Government had taken some steps in the interest of farmers even before amending this Act, but now after the necessary changes in the Mandi Act, it will be easier and more profitable for the farmers to sell their crops. The option to sell the produce at support price in mandis will remain as it is with Farmers. After the creation of new alternative system, a new competition will arise in the trade of agricultural commodities, resulting in benefitting the farmers. The licensee traders will now be able to buy crops directly from farmers’ homes or farms. With the same license, traders will be able to go anywhere in the state and make this purchase. With the same license, traders will be able to purchase agriculture commodities from anywhere in the state. This will help in abolishing the system of middlemen. For example, if a trader from Bhopal had to buy Arhar dal from Pipariya, he had to deal through the licensee trader of that place. With the end of this binding now, the new system will directly benefit the farmers as well as the consumers.

The government has also made arrangements for e-tendering. Under this, farmers will get the rates of the mandis from the whole country. They will be able to make a deal for their produce at higher rates in any mandi of the country. Fruits and vegetables are already exempted from the Mandi Act in the state. Apart from this, Mandi charges are also to be paid on one time purchase and sale. It is noteworthy that Krishi Upaj Mandis was a good step adopted to free the farmers from exploitation. But now the requirements are changing according to time. Apart from this, due to the politicization of the mandis, the mandis had become a vicious cycle for the farmers, in which they were suppressed and looted. Anyway, when the concept of free market is flourishing all over the world, there is no point in confining farmers to mandis only. Hence, the amendment in the Mandi Act can be called a major step by the government in the direction of linking the farmers with free trade. The benefits of this change in the system are expected to be availed by both producers and consumers alike. For example, a farmer sells mangoes to a trader from his farm for Rs. 10 or 20 per kg, but on reaching consumers, the price of mangoes becomes Rs. 80 or 100 a kg. In the new system- food processors, exporters, whole sellers or end users will be able to buy the produce directly from farmers’ village outside the mandis. This means that farmers would now also become traders of their own production

After the amendments in Mandi Act, now warehouses, silo cold storage etc. will also be considered as private mandis. Mandi committees will have no interference in the work of these private mandis. One more advantage of this will be that the problem of storage faced by the farmers, which arises during every crop season will also be resolved. At present, due to storage problem, farmers are always apprehensive about their produce at all times. After the amendment in the Act, farmers will not have to go through the pain of destroying their produce in the fields itself because of drop in rates due to high yield. Now food processors will be able to buy crops easily from the farmers. In such a situation, food processing industries will also get a boost in the state.

These decisions of the government clearly reflect that the Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan, being a member of the farmer’s family is not only concerned about the farmers but also understands their suffering better. He has also done a lot during his last tenure in the interest of farmers. In addition to providing loans at zero percent interest, either it is a matter of subsidy on interest or steps like Bhavantar Yojana in the interest of farmers. I think that being a farmer’s son, Shri Chouhan understands the real problems of farmers even better. This step of the government has paved a new way for the farmers in this period of economic recession. Today the market for the farmers is getting bigger and wider.


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