The government has provided over Rs 43,000 crore to more than 8 crore farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme and will spend Rs 25 lakh crore in coming years to boost the rural economy, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Friday.
Addressing the joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament, he said: "Bringing about a change in the lives of farmers, who serve the country selflessly, and development of rural areas are the priorities of my government."
The government is "going to spend an amount of Rs 25 lakh crore" in the coming years to strengthen the rural economy and is working on a strategy to develop an income-centric system aimed at doubling the income of farmers, he added.
"Under the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), more than Rs 43,000 crore has been deposited in the bank accounts of more than eight crore farmer families. On January 2, my government has created a record by transferring Rs 12,000 crore to the bank accounts of six crore farmers simultaneously," Kovind said.
Through the Rs 87,000 crore PM-KISAN scheme, the government is providing Rs 6,000 per year to farmers in three equal instalments. The ambitious programme, which was launched in the interim Budget last year, aims to cover 14.5 crore farmers.
That aside, Kovind said the government is steadily increasing the minimum support price (MSP) for Kharif and Rabi crops as part of its decision to fix the MSP at least one and a half times the input cost. He highlighted that the procurement of pulses and oilseeds has increased by more than 20 times.
The President said the central government, along with states, is working to provide relief to farmers from natural calamities.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, he pointed out that on an average, every year more than 5.5 crore farmers are availing crop insurance cover at a very low premium. Farmers' claims worth Rs 57,000 crore have been settled in the last three years.
Kovind said the impact of e-NAM, the online national market for farmers, has also started to become visible. As many as 1.65 crore farmers and about 1.25 lakh traders have been linked to it, while trade worth Rs 90,000 crore has been transacted.
"In order to further enhance the effectiveness of e-NAM in this decade, work is underway to link more than 400 new mandis with it," Kovind said. Under this platform, 540 mandis are already linked.
The President said the government is promoting alternative farming practices such as organic farming. Honey output has increased by about 60 per cent while its exports more than doubled.
Kovind said the twin objectives of doubling the fishermen's income and fish production are sought to be achieved through the newly created the Department of Fisheries.
"A massive drive is being organised with the aim of ensuring the health of more than 50 crore livestock of the country. Under the National Animal Disease Control Programme, an amount of Rs 13,000 crore is being spent on immunisation and other measures to protect the cattle from foot and mouth disease," Kovind said.