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Modi Government Announces ‘Big’ Farm Package & Many Incentives for Farmers as New Year Gift

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government is giving many incentives to overcome the agrarian crisis. The government is giving a big financial package, to woo farmers ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Tooba Maher

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government is giving many incentives to overcome the agrarian crisis. The government is giving a big financial package, to woo farmers ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 

The government may announce the new set of measures for farmers before the end of the winter session of Parliament on 5th January. The government's likely announcement of incentives to boost rural income will come following feedback given by BJP leaders and MPs, besides other stakeholders.  

According to sources, PM Narendra Modi held discussions on a wide-ranging farm relief plan with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, BJP chief Amit Shah and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh. The timing is important as it came soon after the BJP was defeated in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in the recent state polls, where rural distress plays an important role. 

The Congress, after wresting power in the three states, made good on its campaign promise to waive farm loans almost immediately after taking charge. Congress President Rahul Gandhi said his party and others would "not let PM Modi sleep or rest" till an all-India loan waiver scheme was announced. 

However, the central government's plan is to go beyond loan waivers. The PM also also remarked that Congress' loan waivers were only meant to win elections, indicating that the BJP may have something else in store.  

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram took a dig and said the government's plan is to pay farmers the difference between the minimum support price (MSP) and market price. He said this was already tried by the BJP in Madhya Pradesh but brought no relief to the indebted farmers. 

According to sources, the Agriculture Ministry has prepared a road map and made a presentation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting both short and long term "sustainable" solutions to various issues that are impacting farmers and causing agricultural distress in the country. 

Senior BJP leaders and union ministers have been holding consultations over the matter. Amit Shah also met Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh. 

The ministry has studied various state models, like loan waiver announced in seven states, input subsidy being given in states such as Odisha and the 'Rythu Bandhu' scheme of Telangana, among others. 

"In the meeting with the PM, the ministry made a presentation and the discussions revolved around the key issues facing the farming community and the possible solutions that can be provided before general elections," a highly placed source said. 

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