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PM talks about khadi and farmers in Mann Ki Baat

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New Delhi: Khadi can provide employment to crores of people in the country and at least 50 percent of the country’s farmers should be included in the crop insurance scheme launched by the government over the next two years, PM Narendra Modisaid on Sunday in his first “Mann Ki Baat” address of 2016.

“Khadi has the power to provide employment to crores of people. It has now become a symbol and a centre of interest of the nation’s youth,” Modi said.

“Sardar Patel said India’s independence is in Khadi, India’s civilization represents Khadi, farmers’ welfare is in Khadi,” he added.

“If the entire nation observes silence every January 30 at 11 am, you can imagine the energy that a single moment will generate. It should be made a practice,” Modi said.

 In his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat, the Prime Minister expressed concern over the fact that only 20 to 25 percent farmers have so far been covered under the crop insurance schemes. Modi also appealed to people to observe two minutes silence on the 30th of January each year to pay tributes to the martyrs of the nation.

“We have been talking about crop insurance for years, but not more than 20-25 percent farmers have been able to benefit from it. Can we pledge that in the next one to two years, at least, 50 percent of the farmers will be brought under insurance? I need your help in this,” Modi said.

The ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana’ (Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme), approved by the union cabinet recently, gives insurance cover against crop loss due to natural calamities and has lower premium rates.

“A lot is said about farmers in our country… I will not get into those debates, but the biggest problem faced by a farmer is when he loses his hard work to a natural calamity,” the Prime Minister said.

“There is only one way to give them protection, that is crop insurance. In 2016, we have given a big gift to the farmers Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana,” he said.

He urged the listeners to take the message to the farmers. (IANS)

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The Farmer’s Protest In Delhi Makes The Indian Police Take Severe Steps

The government has allowed police to “brutally beat up” the farmers, said the opposition Congress party.

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Farmer protests
Police use water cannons to disperse farmers during a protest demanding better price for their produce on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. VOA

Indian police on Tuesday fired tear gas and water cannons to halt and scatter a march by thousands of protesting farmers heading for the capital New Delhi to demand better prices for their produce.

Reeling from a crash in commodity prices, more than 50,000 farmers from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, a top producer of wheat and cane, blocked part of the main highway to the capital.

They also sought loan waivers, cheaper power and tougher action to get sugar mills to pay dues owed for their cane, as discontent in rural areas turns to anger against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who faces tough general elections next year.

“Despite our repeated requests, the government has failed to help farmers in any meaningful ways,” a farm leader, Dharmendra Malik, told Reuters by telephone from the protest site.

farmers
Police try to stop farmers during a protest demanding a better price for their produce on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. VOA

“Left with no choice, we’ve decided to march to Delhi to highlight our plight.”

Cash-strapped sugar companies owe cane growers about 135 billion rupees ($1.9 billion) in the current season. Saddled with huge piles of sugar and hit by a fall in prices, mills have said they are unable to pay farmers on time.

“The state government has initiated a number of steps to help farmers, including a clutch of measures to expedite cane payments to growers,” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told video news agency ANI, a Reuters affiliate.

Mills are struggling to export sugar because of lower global prices, Adityanath said.

Television broadcast images of angry farmers clashing with police and driving their tractors into security barriers, in a protest that disrupted rush-hour traffic.

Farmers
Rural areas turns to anger against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. VOA

Some farmers were injured when police fired tear gas and water cannon to keep protesters from breaking through barricades to reach New Delhi, the site of events to mark the birth anniversary of India’s apostle of non violence, Mahatma Gandhi.

“It’s ironical that the farmers were brutally beaten on the day of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary,” opposition leader Rahul Gandhi said.

Farmers had started trickling into the city late on Monday, prompting authorities to bar gatherings of more than four people.

The government has allowed police to “brutally beat up” the farmers, said the opposition Congress party, which ruled India for most of its 70 years since independence from Britain, before losing power to Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

Also Read: Asian Farms Tackle Drug Resistance with Apps and Dictionary

“Can India’s farmers not come and tell their own government that they are in deep pain?” asked Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Modi’s rural woes have been worsened by a failure to deliver on a promise of tens of millions of jobs for young people that helped him win the largest mandate in three decades in 2014. (VOA)