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Modi Govt Has Taken Steps For Support To Farmers, Rural Population During Lockdown: Agriculture Minister

The minister said an instalment of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi will be transferred to the accounts of over eight crore farmers in the first week of April as part of immediate relief.

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Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday said that the central government has initiated several steps, including early payment of PM-KISAN instalment and additional funds to states under MGNREGA, in an effort to provide relief to farmers and rural poor during the COVID-19 lockdown. Speaking to ANI, the minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government was also taking care of harvesting and procurement of rabi crops.

"This is the time for harvesting. We can't wait for harvesting for long also because of unpredictable weather conditions. 

On the condition that social distancing norms are followed, the Prime Minister has allowed it to be done. Procurement and sale of produce at the right price is also being taken care of. Farmers can sell their produce in mandis, they have been allowed to do this. State governments are also abiding by these directives," he said.

He said the supply of fertilisers, pesticides and seeds to farmers is also being ensured.

The minister said an instalment of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi will be transferred to the accounts of over eight crore farmers in the first week of April as part of immediate relief.

He said farmers who pay off loans till March 31 get subsidy and exemption on interest and this date has been extended till May 31 due to prevailing conditions.

The minister said the government has also released additional funds of more than Rs 4,000 crore to states under MGNREGA and wages under the rural employment guarantee scheme have been increased.

Tomar said there is proper coordination between the ministry of agriculture and the ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in the procurement process.

"Farmers would be able to sell their produce at a reasonable rate," he said, adding that state government will facilitate it while laying emphasis on norms of social distancing.

The minister also spoke about hardships faced by migrants who wanted to go to villages.

"Our country has this trend of migration of workers from state to state. When the lockdown was announced, those migrants wanted to return, many did but today the need is that they should be healthy and protected from coronavirus," he said.

The minister said the Prime Minister has directed all states to take care of the migrants.

"We value human life more than anything else. We assure migrants that Prime Minister is aware of your situation and taking steps for your welfare," he said.

A nationwide lockdown was announced by the government on March 24 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

(ANI)


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