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Posted On : 18 Mar, 2017  Source : PTI  Place : Surajkund 
Farmers have bright future, income to double by 2022: Rajnath
Home Minister Rajnath Singh today made an assurance that farmers' income will double by 2022 while terming agriculture as a sunrise sector of the 21st century with ample growth potential.

Allaying fears that prospects of agriculture are bleak, the minister maintained that on the contrary, farmers have a bright future.

"Our Prime Minister has already spelt out the vision of doubling farmers' income by 2022 and we will convert that vision into reality," Singh said while addressing a summit on agriculture organised by the Haryana government here.

The minister also spoke of the challenges faced by farmers with regard to high input costs and a fair price for their produce.

Dispelling the notion that agriculture has no potential and Indian farmers have no future, Singh said: "People like me and many more believe that neither the potential for growth in agriculture has ended nor the future of farmers is bleak."

He corroborated his stand by saying a lot of people around the world have started believing that farming is the only sunrise sector of the country in the 21st century, thanks to the way technology is deployed to increase output.

Highlighting the steps taken by the government to boost irrigation capacity, Singh said the government is also looking to provide irrigation facilities to 76 lakh hectares of unirrigated farm land at a cost of Rs 77,000 crore by 2019.

"We have made a Rs 20,000 crore fund under Nabard to ensure irrigation for agriculture fields," he added.

About the new crop insurance scheme, Singh said the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana will protect farmers from vagaries of monsoon.

The government, he said, has kept the premium for crop insurance at a very low level under this scheme, which would provide income security to farmers in the case of crop losses.

The minister pointed to the lack of marketing facilities for farmers to sell their produce.

"Our government wants that along with production power, the farmers should also have the pricing power," Singh said.

The minister also said the government is linking all 585 wholesale mandis through the national electronic agriculture market (e-NAM) to enable farmers to sell their produce anywhere across the country through the e-trading platform.

These 585 mandis will be linked by March 2018, he promised. So far, 250 mandis have been integrated under e-NAM.

Singh also stressed on the need to eliminate middlemen from the agriculture marketing system so that farmers' income could be enhanced further.

In the agriculture sector, there is a big influence of middlemen, which minimises farmers' income, he said.

Singh said the government is making provisions for distributing all the benefits directly to farmers. The Prime Minister is also promoting cashless transactions which will help in ending the monopoly of middlemen.