As the farmers' protest entered the 17th day on Saturday, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar communicated a fresh message to them about the Central government's sentiments and steps being taken for their welfare. He said the government brought the three farm laws only to protect the interests of the farmers and it is adopting all measures to make them and the agriculture sector more prosperous.As the farmers are still adamant on their first and major demand to repeal the three contentious farm laws enacted in September during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, the Minister said the new laws were brought for major changes in the lives of farmers.He said the government brought the laws to provide a fair price for the farmers' produce, increase their income, and make necessary changes in their lives.Reiterating that the Central government's priority is to double the farmers' income by 2022, Tomar said the government is not only taking various measures through new schemes to better the financial condition of farmers, it has also distributed over Rs 1 lakh crore to over 10.5 crore farmers across the country under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi.He said that a data bank for farmers will provide them necessary information at their homes.
Speaking at the three-day 10th Intelligence Knowledge Exchange Summit, the Minister said the steps taken by the Central government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have started benefiting the farmers.Tomar said the government's only motive is to better the farmers' financial condition, provide benefits to the agriculture sector and attract the new generation towards farming.Noting that farmers have been the strength of the country for years, the Minister said the Central government has set up a Rs 1 lakh crore agriculture infrastructure fund under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat movement to develop agriculture infrastructure in the villages.The fund will also be used for establishing cold storage, warehouses, grading and packaging units, said the Minister, adding that the government has also planned an investment of Rs 10,000 crore in the food processing industry which will help the farmers to sell their produce at the right time.Explaining about the project, the Minister said small food processing units will be opened in villages to benefit the farmers. "The farmers can stock their produce for a particular time and then sell it when they will get a better price. These units will create employment and farmers will get a fair price for their crops."Tomar added that the government has introduced a Rs 50,000 crore package for the agriculture sector and for the welfare of farmers, and steps are being taken one by one under the package.