Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh on Thursday met the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) farmer wing leaders, as well as parliamentarians and agriculture ministers of Haryana and Bihar, to chalk out a strategy to reach out to farmers.
The meeting comes amid growing criticism of the government over the agrarian crisis and farmers’ agitations in different parts of the country this year.
Several farmers’ organisations and political opponents have attacked the BJP for not implementing the National Farmers’ Commission recommendation that farmers be paid 50% profit on their input costs as remunerative price for their produce.
“Farmers are not able to avail of the benefits of the policies and schemes. It is also the duty of the field level workers to ensure that these benefits reach the farming families,” Singh told BJP leaders at the meet jointly chaired by party general secretary P Muralidhar Rao. Rao is in charge of the BJP’s expansion plan in the southern states, where farm distress is among the worst.
The BJP Kisaan Morcha announced the launch of what it has dubbed as the world’s largest training programme for farmers – an ambitious campaign to train its workers in 1,100 blocks across the country on farmers’ issues and schemes of the Centre that benefit the farmer. It eventually aims at reaching out to famers’ families in each of these blocks.
“This programme will continue for three years in all states, including Kerala and West Bengal, to make farmers aware of the work that the BJP government is doing,” Morcha vice-president Shailendra Sengar told HT.
A number of farmers’ agitations have broken out this year, severely attacking the government for not doing enough for the agriculture sector. Farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra took to the streets earlier this year demanding remunerative prices for their produce.
The agitations forced the governments in these states to announce loan waivers for distressed famers. With a poor monsoon this year, experts say famers are possibly in for another round of hardships.