Govt ensured higher crop procurement during Covid pandemic: Jitendra Singh

New Delhi, Oct 7 (PTI): Union minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday said the government ensured higher crop procurement during COVID-19 pandemic, which is an indication of the sensitivity with which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the team led by him are committed to respond to the needs of farmer community during crisis times.

Interacting with farmers, panchayat representatives and local activists of peripheral areas of Basohli and Reasi, Jammu and Kashmir, he cited figures to state that despite COVID-19, the procurement of wheat was 15 per cent higher than the last year and about 390 lakh tonnes of wheat was procured throughout the country.

Despite lockdown measures in place, the Centre has ensured procurement from the doorsteps of farmers, the Minister of State for Personnel said.

He cautioned that some vested interests were spreading myths about their abolition, which need to be countered at all levels, a statement by the personnel ministry said.

Referring to suicides by farmers, the Union minister reiterated that with the pro-farm measures and new farm laws having placed specific safeguard and security provisions in place, the farmers will have a window of relief and will lead to farm prosperity, it said.

He said the new measures will usher in a new revolution in the farm sector and the young generations will take up this vocation as a new and profitable entrepreneur.

Singh said the farm reforms introduced by Prime Minister Modi allow liberty to choose the crop cost and give the farmers the freedom to have more buyers and flexibility in choosing the price at which they sell their produce.

He categorically stated that a contract agreement will guarantee the farmers to get the fixed price.

Moreover, the new legislation clearly prohibits sale, lease or mortgage of farmers’ land, the minister said.

Singh appealed to all activists to reach out to each and every farmer in every village and explain to him the big conspiracy being hatched against him.

This, he said, will enable the agricultural community to avail of the enormous welfare initiatives introduced by the prime minister.

Referring to government initiatives during the pandemic for agricultural sector, the minister noted that the Centre has distributed Rs 75,000 crore for procurement and other welfare measures for farmers.

He said even the wheat procurement centres increased threefold during the coronavirus crisis and similarly procurement centres for pulses and oilseeds also increased nearly threefold during the pandemic, the statement said.

Singh reiterated that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Agricultural Produce and Livestock Market Committee (APMC) will continue and will never be removed at any cost.