Centre giving priority to farming sector to double farmers’ income, reduce cultivation cost: Modi

Chandigarh, Feb 8 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asserted that the Centre is giving priority to the farming sector to ensure that the income of farmers double and the cost of cultivation gets reduced.

Addressing his first rally for poll-bound Punjab, which he did virtually for assembly segments of Ludhiana and Fatehgarh Sahib, he said the state’s agriculture has always lend strength to the country.

The central government is giving priority to the agriculture sector so that farmers’ income doubles and their cost of cultivation gets reduced, Modi said.

Punjab’s agriculture has always lend strength to India, but what did the outfits which remained at the centre of power in the state give to Punjab farmers? he asked.

He said these outfits have no roadmap to pull farmers out of debt or for improving soil health.

Punjab’s farmers need modern facilities from crop sowing to selling their produce. They need modern cold storage, food park and food processing industry, and better connectivity to export their produce, the prime minister underlined.

“Our double engine government will work at a speedy pace in these areas,” he said.

“For welfare of small farmers, our government is constantly taking steps. Recent example is of fertilisers. Last year, for Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers, our government increased subsidy by nearly Rs 45,000 crore.

“For urea too, our government increased the subsidy by nearly Rs 35,000 crore. In this budget too, for fertiliser subsidy, we have kept provision of record sum of money,” he said.

Modi also said that for the first time, farmers are getting minimum support price (MSP) payment directly into their bank accounts in Punjab.

Drawing a comparison between his government and the previous Congress-led UPA, he said before NDA government came to power in 2014, Punjab farmers got nearly Rs 1 lakh crore as paddy MSP, while during seven years of the present central government, they got nearly Rs 2.25 lakh crore.

He said the Union government has given Rs 1.60 lakh crore for wheat, which is nearly double than earlier years of previous regime.

With the Centre’s help, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) came up in Amritsar and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bathinda, he said.

The PM said the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway will also pass through many Punjab districts and Rs 40,000 crore of the total amount to be spend on this expressway will be in Punjab, which will give a boost to many industries.

He said if there is a government which delivers, then new industries will come to the state.

He said Punjab, which once used to give employment to youth from other states, is witnessing migration and that this situation can be changed with industry and infrastructure development.

Mandi Gobindgarh is traditionally known as a steel city. To compete in international market, the kind of infrastructure that is needed, attention needs to be paid to that. Under one district one product’, the NDA government will develop industrial centres like these, he said.

Ludhiana’s textile industry needs to be given a boost and the Centre has started a production-linked incentive scheme for the textiles sector, he added.

Notably, the scheme is aimed to boost domestic manufacturing and exports.

When NDA government will be formed here, such schemes will be implemented which will take Punjab to new heights and take it on the path of development, Modi added.