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‘Farmers first’ policy is Modi govt's resolve to boost their income: A look at key initiatives

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New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) With the farmers launching agitation on Delhi borders for the second time in less than three years, the Opposition has launched a scathing attack against the Narendra Modi government, accusing it of not just depriving the farmers of their rightful earnings, but also ‘suppressing’ their demonstration for genuine demands.

The barrage of allegations and rebuttals continues to fly, but the Modi government has maintained that it’s commitment to the welfare and upliftment of the farming community remains uncompromised, as it has been consistently working towards bringing a defining change in their lives.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal X handle on Saturday shared a comprehensive booklet, detailing the wide array of steps taken for the livelihood and well-being of the farmers.

Titled ‘Putting Farmers First’, the booklet takes a deep dive into the Centre’s policies and decodes the steps taken to improve the living standards of farmers.

Notably, PM Modi has been a staunch votary of the farming community’s contributions to the nation’s growth, and has advocated doubling the income of the farmers ever since he came to power in 2024.

Even when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister, farmers’ welfare had topped his priorities.

“’Vibrant Gujarat’, the government’s flagship investor summit, garnered big headlines. It is a two-day event held once in every two years. However, Krishi Mahotsav was held every year under Narendra Modi’s tenure. Under the month-long programme, all levels of the state government were mobilised to work with the farmers,” the booklet said.

Here is an account of the Centre’s funds allocation and mobilisation of government machinery for the farmers’ welfare:

Bigger Budget, Better utilisation

* The budget for agriculture has increased five times from Rs 1.37 lakh crore during 2007-14 to Rs 7.27 lakh crore during 2014-25.

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* The PM-KISAN scheme was launched, under which 11 crore farmers got financial assistance of Rs 6,000 per year.

* For the first time, MSP increase was announced. The minimum support price of all 22 crops was set at minimum 50 per cent more than the cost.

* For the 2020 and 2021 Rabi seasons, Rs 2.37 lakh crore was paid to the farmers during the pandemic in the form of MSP for crops like wheat, paddy, oilseeds and pulses.

Farming and Soil Health

* Organic farming has received an unprecedented boost under the Modi government. Flagship initiatives like Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana were launched, while steps were also taken for improving soil health.

* The Soil Health Card Scheme, first launched during Narendra Modi’s government in Gujarat, was introduced nationally in 2014-15. Soil health cards provide the farmers with the nutrient status of their soil and its composition. Hundreds of labs across the country test soil and provide the farmers with detailed information, which help them make informed decisions.

* In 2015-16, the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana was launched to promote organic farming. Over Rs 70 crore has been released to the farmers. Organic farming covers an area of 64 lakh hectares in the country under various programmes.

* Zero budget farming was also introduced to promote farming sans the use of chemical fertilisers. This would make farming more viable for the small farmers and help them get rid of debt cycle.

* Under the Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati programme, an area of 4.09 lakh hectares has been covered and a total fund of Rs 49.81 crore has been released in eight states.

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Quality Seeds for Farming

* Since 2014, a comprehensive total of 1,971 crop varieties resilient to climate challenges have been created and introduced. Among these, 429 varieties are designed to withstand abiotic stresses, while 1,542 are tailored to resist biotic stresses.

* Since 2014, a cumulative total of 369 high-yielding varieties across 14 pulse crops have been introduced in India.

* In 2016, 150 pulses seed hubs and 12 centers were established to bolster breeder seed production, resulting in the production and distribution of 7.09 lakh quintal of quality seed and 21,713 quintal of breeder seed from 2016-17 to 2022-23.

* A total of 1,587.74 lakh quintal of quality seed were produced, involving 6.39 lakh villages.

* The availability of certified/quality seed has increased from 158.19 lakh quintal in 2014- 15 to 514.26 lakh quintal in 2022-23.

* The number of farmers benefiting from the Seed Village Programme rose from 21.29 lakh in 2015-16 to 45.51 lakh in 2022-23.

Extending Credit Facility to Farmers

* Kisan Credit Cards were introduced to enhance government’s outreach to farmers.

* Allocation of Rs 1.25 lakh crore was made with a targeted agricultural credit of Rs 20 lakh crore for animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries in FY 2022-23.

* Institutional credit to farmers increased from Rs 7.3 lakh crore in 2013-14 to Rs 21.55 lakh crore in 2022-23, saving more farmers from the clutches of private moneylenders.

* Rs 2 lakh crore credit boost to 2.5 crore farmers at reduced interest rates via Kisan Credit Cards (KCC).

* Increasing the reach of formal credit, 2 crore new farmers were covered with additional credit flow of Rs 2.5 lakh crore.

Impetus to Agricultural Infrastructure

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* Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) was launched in 2015, under which micro-irrigation and water conservation practices were introduced.

* Between 2014-15 and 2021-22, around 7.64 lakh water harvesting structures were built or revitalised.

* Cold storage capacity in the nation has risen from 318.23 lakh metric tonne in 2014 to 394.17 lakh metric tonne presently.

* In a bid to improve market access and reduce post-harvest losses, PM Modi launched the Kisan Rail and Krishi Udaan schemes.

* To tackle the shortage of food grain storage, the government approved the ‘World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector’ on May 31, 2023. Over 2,000 PACS (Primary Agricultural Credit Societies) have been selected for the creation of storage capacity as part of the Pilot Project.

Crop Insurance

* In the last seven years of its implementation, the PM Fasal Bima Yojana has enrolled over 55 crore farmer applications.

* Farmers have paid a premium of nearly Rs 30,000 crore while they have received a claim of over Rs 1.5 lakh crore. This shows that for every Rs 100 that the farmers have paid as premium, they have received Rs 521 as claims.

* Around 85 per cent of the farmers enrolled under the scheme are small and marginal farmers.

Minimum Support Price

* The government announced multiple MSP hikes based on the formula that the farmers will get at least 1.5 times the cost of production. This was a promise made and delivered.

* Between 2014 and 2023 (10 years), crores of farmers have received nearly Rs 18 lakh crore as MSP for paddy and wheat crops. This is 2.5 times more than the preceding 10 years before 2014.

–IANS

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Fan's murder: Actors Darshan, Pavithra not cooperating, hiding facts

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Bengaluru, June 13 (IANS) The Karnataka Police are investigating the murder of 33-year-old Renukaprasad allegedly by Kannada superstar Darshan, his ‘second wife’ Pavithra Gowda and others who have told the court that Darshan and Pavithra Gowda were not cooperating with the investigation, sources said on Wednesday.

The remand application was submitted before the court on Tuesday.

The remand application also mentions that Darshan and Pavithra were also hiding the facts.

Considering the petition, the court had sent the accused to a six-day custody to the police.

Meanwhile, the investigation has revealed the involvement of 17 persons in connection with the murder of Renukaswamy.

Among the 17, four persons are absconding according to the police and a hunt has been launched against them.

The accused are identified as Jagadish aka Jagga, Anu, Ravi and Raju.

The police have named 33-year-old Pavithra Gowda as the main accused and 47-year-old actor Darshan alias D Boss as the second accused.

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The other accused is Puttaswamy aka Pavan. K (29), Raghavendra (43), Nandeesha (28), Vinay (38), Nagaraju (41), Lakshmana (54), Deepak (39), Pradoosh (40), Karthik alias Kappe (27), Keshavamurthy (27) and Nikhil Nayak (21).

The remand application submitted to the court by the police states that the case has been registered against the accused under the IPC Section 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence and giving false information to screen offender), sources said.

The accused Raghavendra, Karthik, Nikhil Nayak and Keshavamurty had surrendered before the police on June 10 at 7 p.m. and claimed that they had killed Renukaswamy and disposed of the body near a gutter.

After being questioned all the four accused revealed the role of other accused persons, including Darshan.

The police have arrested 13 persons in connection with the murder case.

–IANS

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Gujarat govt introduces new safety rules to prevent Rajkot gaming zone-like fire incidents

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Ahmedabad, June 13 (IANS) The Gujarat government on Wednesday announced new safety measures to prevent incidents like the Rajkot gaming zone fire incident, in which at least 27 people were killed.

Gujarat Cabinet Minister Rushikesh Patel announced the launch of “The Gujarat Amusement Rides and Gaming Zone Activities (Safety) Rules-2024” by the Home Department, aimed at ensuring the safety of citizens visiting amusement rides and gaming zones.

This initiative, which directly responds to the tragic Rajkot TRP game zone fire, aims to prevent any similar incidents statewide.

Rushikesh Patel also said that the government is seeking public input on these new safety regulations.

Citizens can email their objections and suggestions regarding the rules to the Home Department at home@gujarat.gov.in by June 25.

“Once finalised, the new regulations will be officially published. With these measures, the Gujarat government aims to enhance safety protocols and ensure that incidents like the Rajkot TRP (game zone) fire are never repeated,” Patel added.

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The proposed rules have been published on the Home Department’s website, where citizens can review them and provide feedback.

These rules mandate that an amusement ride intended for operation for at least three months can be installed with prior permission from the licensing authority.

Upon receiving the application, the licensing authority will forward it to relevant authorities for No Objection Certificates (NOCs) related to fire safety, building use, structural stability, health, sanitation, and electrical installations.

The licensing authority will then consider recommendations from the City Ride Safety and Inspection Committee or the District Ride Safety Committee before granting permission, which will be issued in Form B with specific terms and conditions, or the application will be refused in writing.

Any major changes in design, specifications, or installation methods must receive prior approval.

The licensing authority will issue a written direction specifying the approved deviations and any conditions to be complied with.

Furthermore, the installation of amusement rides must be supervised by a qualified person, ensuring that all work and tests adhere to the authorised designs, specifications, installation methods, and conditions of the installation permit.

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Regular inspections must be conducted to maintain compliance with these standards.

–IANS

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15 Himachal products get GI tag

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Shimla, June 13 (IANS) Fifteen products from Himachal Pradesh have been registered under the Geographical Indication (GI).

This fact came to light in an exhibition featuring registered and potential GI products at the Indira Gandhi State Sports Complex here.

State Chief Secretary Prabodh Saxena inaugurated the event that would continue till June 16.

The exhibition showcases about 15 GI products which include Kullu shawl, Kangra tea, Chamba rumal, Kinnauri shawl, Kangra painting, Himachali kala jeera, chulli oil, Chamba chappal and Lahauli socks and gloves.

Additionally, potential GI products identified for registration include Chamba metal craft, Kinnauri jewellery, Spiti chharma, Bharmour rajma, Pangi ki thangi, Chamba chukh, red rice, dasangru and Sirmauri loia, Karsog kulthi, Himachali dham, Himachali musical instruments, Kinnauri apple, and sepu badi.

An application has been made for the registration of Chamba metal craft.

Saxena, while emphasising the importance of GI tags, said these tags were given to products with a specific geographical origin such as Chamba rumal, Chamba chappal, Kangra tea and Kangra painting.

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He said the registration of GI products provides legal protection, enhances their export potential and promotes the economic prosperity of producers in specific geographical areas.

The exhibition offers an opportunity for both locals and tourists to learn about GI products and purchase valuable traditional items.

–IANS

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POCSO case: Victim's brother moves K'taka HC seeking Yediyurappa’s arrest, govt appoints SPP (Ld)

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Bengaluru, June 13 (IANS) In a setback to former Chief Minister and BJP Parliamentary Board member B.S. Yediyurappa, a writ petition was submitted in the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday seeking his arrest in a POCSO case lodged against him in Bengaluru before the Lok Sabha elections.

Taking the matter seriously, the Congress government has appointed special public prosecutor (SPP) Ashok N. Nayak to represent the prosecution in the case. According to sources, the Congress government has decided to initiate legal action against Yediyurappa.

The victim’s brother filed the writ petition before the high court, claiming that the police did not take any action though it has been months since the complaint was filed against the veteran BJP leader.

The victim’s mother, who passed away on May 26, had filed a case against Yediyurappa in March this year under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, alleging harassment of her daughter when she went to the former CM’s residence seeking help in a 2015 case of assault.

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The petitioner claimed that the CCTV footage from Yediyurappa’s residence was not seized, and neither was a notice served to the BJP leader under Section 41A, which is a basic step in a POCSO case.

Meanwhile, Yediyurappa had also approached the high court seeking quashing of the POCSO case against him.

He submitted in his petition that he did not indulge in any unlawful act, and alleged that the complainant had a habit of filing complaints.

“I had attended the interrogation after the FIR was lodged. The police had collected voice samples but did not record my statement,” Yediyurappa claimed.

In March, the victim’s mother had filed complaints against 53 persons, including senior police officers, politicians, and bureaucrats.

Commenting on the case, Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara said on Wednesday that the investigation is going on and the police are gathering more evidence.

Earlier, the Congress government in Karnataka handed over the case to the special wing of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

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–IANS

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Kuwait fire tragedy: Around 40 Indians killed, says MEA; Jaishankar speaks to Kuwaiti FM

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New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Wednesday spoke to his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya about the fire tragedy in Kuwait City in which around 40 Indians are feared to have died.

According to reports by Kuwaiti media, the fire broke out in a six-floor building that was crammed with migrant workers in the city’s al-Mangaf area.

EAM Jaishankar, in a post on X, said: @Spoke to Kuwaiti FM Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya on the fire tragedy in Kuwait. Apprised of the efforts made by Kuwaiti authorities in that regard. Was assured that the incident would be fully investigated and that responsibility will be fixed.”

S. Jaishankhar said that he urged the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister for the early repatriation of the mortal remains of those who lost their lives.

“He emphasized that those injured were getting the requisite medical attention. We will review the situation after MoS Kirtivardhan Singh reaches Kuwait tomorrow,” he added.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier on Wednesday chaired a review meeting on the fire tragedy in Kuwait at his residence.

PM Modi also announced ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh to the families of deceased Indian nationals from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

The Prime Minister expressed his deep sorrow at the unfortunate incident and extended condolences to the families of the deceased. He also wished speedy recovery for those injured.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the External Affairs Ministry (EAM) said: “In an unfortunate and tragic fire incident in a Labour housing facility in Mangaf area of Kuwait, around 40 Indians are understood to have died and over 50 injured. The Embassy is ascertaining the full details from the concerned Kuwaiti authorities and the company. We offer our deepest condolences to the bereaved families.”

The EAM statement mentioned that those injured are presently admitted to five government hospitals in Kuwait and receiving proper medical care and attention. According to hospital authorities, most of the admitted patients are stable.

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The EAM statement further said: “Following the incident, Ambassador of India in Kuwait, Adarsh Swaika, immediately visited the location of the incident and also the hospitals to ascertain the welfare of the Indian nationals. The Embassy continues to coordinate with local authorities to assist Indian nationals who have been injured in this unfortunate incident and extend all possible support. The Embassy is receiving full cooperation from the Kuwaiti authorities.”

The statement also said that the Indian Embassy in Kuwait continues to remain in touch with local authorities to provide relief to those affected.

“The Embassy has established a helpline +965-65505246 (WhatsApp and regular call) for family members to get in touch. Regular updates are being provided through the helpline,” the EAM said.

The fire broke out while the workers were asleep, and some residents had to jump from the building in an attempt to survive, Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas reported, citing witnesses.

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Kuwait’s Emir Meshal Al Ahmad has ordered investigations to determine the cause of the blaze and bring to account those found responsible, Kuna said.

–IANS

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