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Economy will be lifted by agriculture sector: Union Minister (IANS Interview)

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Kailash Chaudhary, on Friday said that the agriculture sector will lift the economy out of the present corona affected crisis which has halted all economic activity. He said the Central Government has given an exemption to agriculture and allied areas during the nationwide lockdown to ensure that there was no shortage of food items.

In a conversation with IANS, Chaudhary said that the Central government has been working since the early days of the lockdown to ensure that the farmers of the country do not face any problem and this was being reviewed daily.

On the question of missing farm labourers during this peak season of rabi crops when wheat harvesting was going on Chaudhary said, “Recently, we had talks with agriculture ministers from all over the country through video conferencing about the problems of farmers in which no one said that harvesting was getting hampered in the absence of labourers.”

The Minister said that wheat harvesting is done by machines and all the concessions have been given for the purchase, repair and transport of machinery, so that farmers do not face any problem in harvesting.

He said that there would be no difficulty in harvesting and procurement of the crop even as the lockdown was on because they have been exempted.

Chaudhary said, “The states have been issued advisory on the issue of purchasing wheat. They can purchase through cooperative societies at the Panchayat level. State governments are free to purchase wheat from which ever agency they wish to. They will take a decision on when to start their purchase.”

Like in earlier years, the procurement of wheat was going to start from April 1, but due to the lockdown, it has not started in any state. According to the information received from Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, the procurement would start after April 15, once the lockdown was lifted.

Kailash Chaudhary, the young minister in the Modi government, has been active regarding the farmers’ problems.

Chaudhary said that Rs 14,000 crore has been transferred to the bank accounts of about seven crore beneficiary farmers under the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme till now. He said that farmers are getting the benefits of all the schemes being run by the Modi government.

On the question about the benefits to farmers from the special Parcel Trains being run across the country, he said that this will facilitate the transportation of perishable agricultural products, including fruits and vegetables, milk, and other items. He said that for all these items the farmers would be benefited as this will give them a fair price for these products.

Chaudhary said that during the lockdown, the maximum relaxation has been given to agriculture and allied sectors, and where activities in many other sectors of the economy have almost stopped due to the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, farming-related work was going on.

–IANS

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