Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 24 accused his opponents of trying to mislead farmers by spreading rumours and lies about the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM-KISAN) which he launched from Gorakhpur by electronically transferring the first instalment of ₹2,000 each to over one crore farmers.
Referring to the Opposition parties as ‘mahamilavati log’ or adulterated, a dig at their coming together, Mr. Modi said his opponents were so rattled by his scheme for farmers that they were “spreading fear.”
Mr. Modi said that the States rules by parties other than the BJP had not submitted the list of eligible farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme to the Union government. The BJP-ruled Gujarat, Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand had made it “a priority”, he added.
Speaking in Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Modi said his opponents were spreading “rumours” that farmers would have to return to the government the amount (₹6,000) given to them in three instalments at the end of the year.
“This money that you are getting, is your right. Nobody can take it back, not even Modi or any State government,” he said urging farmers to give a “befitting reply” to rumour mongers.
Mark of ‘honesty’
Distinguishing the PM-KISAN scheme launched by him from previous farm loan waiver steps taken by the Congress governments, Mr. Modi said his decision was not motivated by elections. That the scheme was discussed in Parliament and a budget provision provided for it showed the “honesty” of the Modi government, he said. The Congress and its allies and the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party remembered farmers once in 10 years only to “pull the wool over their eyes” for votes through promises of loan waivers, he said.
“They [non-BJP governments] feel they can do politics over it. But I am warning them, if they do not send the list of farmers on time and if farmers are deprived of this benefit, then the curse of farmers will destroy your politics,” Mr. Modi said.
While the Congress government made a lot of “promises on paper”, its intention was never to make the farmers strong and capable. So it could never take any “right decisions” in their favour, he said.
Mr. Modi said he could have also waived off loans, which he compared to the distribution of rewri (a sweet delicacy made of sesame) before the elections as it was “not such a difficult thing” to do but said he would not think of “such a sin”. The loan waiver schemes benefit only the upper crust of farmers and those with bank loans but not the “crores” of poor farmers who took loans from other sources, while the PM-KISAN scheme not only provided relief to farmers but was also an investment for the rural economy.
He alleged that the policies of the previous Congress governments, in particular their ‘failure’ to implement minimum support prices, destroyed the farmers.
The PM-KISAN scheme was announced in the interim Budget 2019-20 and under this small and marginal farmers owning combined land holding of up to 2 hectares will be given ₹6,000 per year through direct transfer to bank accounts. The government says it is estimated to benefit more than 12 crore farmers.
The Prime Minister later took a dip at the Sangam at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj (previously Allahabad) and offered prayers and aarti . He washed and wiped the feet of five swachh karmacharis (sanitation workers), including two women, deployed at the Kumbh.
In Prayagraj, he distributed the Swachh Kumbh Swachh Aabhaar awards to safai karmacharis , swachhagrahis , police personnel and boatmen.