Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the agricultural reforms in the past few days have now opened new doors of possibilities for our farmers. The demands that have been made by farmers for years, that every political party, at some point or the other made the promise to fulfill, those demands have been met.
After a lot of deliberation, the Parliament of India gave a legal form to the agricultural reforms. These reforms have not only served to unshackle our farmers but also given them new rights and opportunities, Modi said while addressing his radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
In just a short span of time, these new rights have begun to ameliorate the woes of our farmers. Giving example of Maharashtra’s Jitendra Bhoijee, the prime minister said, “You too should know how Jitendra Bhoiji, a farmer from Dhule district in Maharashtra made use of the recently promulgated farm laws. Jitendra Bhoiji had sown corn and decided to sell his produce to traders for a right price. The total cost of the produce was fixed at approximately Rupees Three Lakh thirty-two thousand. Jitendra even received an advance of Rupees twenty-five thousand. It had been decided that the outstanding amount would be cleared in fifteen days. However, later such circumstances developed, that he did not receive the remainder of his payment. Buy the crop from the farmer, keep the payment pending for months on end; probably this was the long-standing tradition that the buyers of corn were following. This continued for four months wherein Jitendra was not paid his dues. In this situation, the new farm laws that were passed in September came to his aid.
Under this law, it was decided that all dues of the farmers should be cleared within three days of procurement, failing which the farmer can lodge a complaint. Another notable aspect of this law is that the area Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) has to ensure grievance redressal of the farmer within one month.
“Now, with our farmer brother empowered with this law, his grievance had to be redressed; consequently, he lodged a complaint and within days his outstanding payments were cleared,” Modi said.
This correct and complete knowledge of the law became the strength of Jitendra. Whichever the field, correct knowledge, free from misconceptions and rumors can act as a force multiplier for every individual, he said.
He also gave an example of Mohammad Aslam from Baran district in Rajasthan, saying he is working in a similar fashion to increase awareness among farmers. He is also the CEO of a farmer producer organization. “I hope this is heartwarming news for the CEOs of major companies – that farmers from far flung areas of the country are now also becoming CEOs of farmer organizations!”
“Mohammad Aslam has made a Whatsapp group comprising several farmers from his area. In this group everyday he shares updates with the farmers on prevalent prices at neighboring Mandis in the area. His own FPO also buys produce from farmers, hence, this effort of his also helps farmers in taking a decision,” Modi said.
Referring to another person Virendra Yadav, an agriculturist in Haryana, Modi said Virendra Yadav is one such farmer entrepreneur, who has influenced the lives of thousands through his awareness. “Some time ago Virendra Yadav used to live in Australia. Two years ago, he came to India and now lives in Kaithal, Haryana. Just like others, the stubble in the fields was a big concern for him too.”
“To find a solution to stubble, Virendra bought a Straw Baler machine to make bundles of straw. For this, he also received financial assistance from the Agricultural department. With this machine, he began to make bundles of stubble. After having made the bundles, he sold the stubble to agro energy plants and paper mills. In just two years, Virendra has traded in stubble in excess of Rupees Two and a Half Crores and has earned a profit of approximately Rupees Fifty Lakhs,” Modi said.
“The benefit of this also accrues to the farmers of those fields from where Virendra sources his stubble. We have often heard of ‘waste to wealth’, however, this initiative is a unique example of earning money and righteous goodwill while finding a solution to the problem of stubble, he added.
“To the youth, especially the lakhs of students who are studying agriculture, it is my request that they visit villages in their vicinity and talk to the farmers and make them aware about innovations in farming and the recent agricultural reforms,” the Prime Minister said.
“This way, you will become stakeholders in major reforms underway in the country,” he added.