Rajnath Singh demands farm income insurance, pension for farmers

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Sewagram, Maharashtra, Jan 10 (UNI) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Rajnath Singh has demanded a farm income insurance scheme to ensure guaranteed income for farmers and help them recover from the ongoing agrarian crisis, and pension for aged cultivators.

Speaking at the launch of party's two-day ''Kisan Yatra'' in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra here today, Mr Singh said the scheme would ensure that every cultivator earned a certain minimum income from his farm irrespective of the quantum of the crop. This would cover the risks involved and ensure that a farmer did not get into a financial crisis if his crop failed, he said.

The income insured under the scheme should be based on the average yield on a farmer's field for the last few years, Mr Singh said.

''For example, if the average yield for cotton from a farm is 10 quintals, and the current market rate for the crop is Rs 2,000 per quintal, then the farmer should get insurance cover for Rs 20,000. If the crop fails or the yield is lower, then the farmer should get an amount equal to the deficit,'' he elaborated.

The government should pay subsidy to the extent of 75 per cent of the premium for the insurance, with the farmer bearing the balance 25 per cent, the BJP President said.

Mr Singh said every individual who retired on attaining a certain age was entitled to a pension for his old age. However, there was no such provision for farmers, who provide the entire country with food. It was, therefore, necessary to implement a pension scheme for aged farmers, he asserted.

Asserting that complete loan waiver was a must to resolve the ongoing agrarian crisis in Vidarbha, Mr Singh said debts upto a certain amount could be written off to provide succour to the distressed farmers. The minimum support price (MSP) should help earn farmers a profit of at least 50 per cent over the input cost, he said. Irrigation should be shifted from the State List to the Concurrent List, Mr Singh said, adding that this would ensure that the Centre and state governments shared responsibility for improving irrigation facilities.

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