PM Modi to address farmers directly to quell agricultural crisis

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. | Source: PIB

The I&B ministry is working on a plan that includes live video-conferencing, recorded messages to enable outreach

Anubhuti Vishnoi

After protests by farmers in many states, the Centre has decided to address their concerns directly in the run-up to the 70th Independence Day.

The Prime Minister will reach out to the farming community through the government network of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) with rounds of social messaging, in which farmer welfare initiatives undertaken by his government will be highlighted, officials told ThePrint on condition of anonymity.

The Information and Broadcasting ministry is working on an elaborate plan involving live video-conferencing and recorded message to implement the mega outreach programme, the officials said.

Over 5,000 rounds of video-conferencing/recordings with the PM’s message will be broadcast from next week at the KVKs, they said.

There are over 600 KVKs across the country and are under the Ministry of Agriculture. They work as local knowledge and resource centres. They also make new technology and products available to farmers.

The prime minister’s initiative comes after farmers’ protests in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra—all BJP-ruled states—as well as Tamil Nadu and Punjab.

While the prime minister has regularly talked about the welfare of farmers in his speeches, the protests alarmed the government. Even the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh had spoken out against the government. The organisation pointed out how the Centre, which had first exhorted farmers to carry out record crop production, failed to purchase the bumper crop at a suitable price. The government’s decision to continue the import of pulses, and to do away with import duty on wheat also upset farmers.

In addition to the KVKs, the PM’s messages will be played across many schools and cinema halls in the country. Sources said the PM’s message will centre around the government’s commitment to the kisan (farmers), the need for Swachh Bharat Mission, the range of measures undertaken for the upliftment of women and the steps being taken to improve infrastructure in villages.

The Centre has already planned elaborate activities to commemorate the 70th year of Independence and the 75th year of the Quit India Movement. Directions have already been issued to all educational institutions to organise talks by eminent speakers from August 9-30 on the freedom struggle as part of the ‘New India Manthan’ programme.

Pledge-taking ceremonies have been organised to reaffirm people’s commitment towards a “terrorism-free, caste-free, corruption-free, uncleanness-free and poverty-free society”. A special quiz competition is also being organised by the Human Resource Development ministry on events related to the freedom struggle.

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