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Well-being of farmers a priority for govt says PM Modi

Reaching out to different sections of society, including farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the well-being of ‘annadaata’ is a priority for the government and their interests are non-negotiable.

In his five letters, post Budget, addressed to small businessmen, youth and senior citizens, the prime minister described the farmers as annadaata.

The finance ministry posted the letters on its website on Wednesday. “Your (farmers’) well-being is a priority for my government and your interests are non-negotiable,” he said.

Observing that unseasonal rains have caused damage to crops in some states, Modi said the government is committed ‘to stand behind you in your hour of need, we are in touch with state governments to give you support’.

In the letter dated March 31, 2015, Modi said the government has set up a price stabilisation fund to provide support in the case of a sharp fall in prices of commodities.

“We are also actively working with the states towards creating a National Agriculture Market, removing all middlemen,” he wrote. In his letter to small businessmen, the prime minister said the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Bank would ensure loans at affordable rates with minimal paper work.

“We are setting up Self Employment and Talent Utilisation mechanism to support all aspects of a start-up business, from credit to incubation,” Modi said.

The Atal Innovation Mission has also been established to promote a network of world-class innovation hubs for those who want to get into cutting-edge R&D. Promising a knowledge-based society, Modi, in his letter to the youth, said the government will develop infrastructure, technology and support systems to harness youth power.

He also wrote about setting up wi-fi facilities in all universities by 2017 and broadband connectivity in all schools. In his letter to senior citizens, the prime minister highlighted the initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and a Senior Citizen Welfare Fund.

The Fund, he said, is being set up to subsidise premiums of old-age pensioners, the BPL families and small and marginal farmers.

The Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, Modi said, will provide an accident insurance of Rs 2 lakh at a mere Rs 1 per month premium.

Senior citizens, he promised, will also be offered a tax rebate towards health insurance premium. Modi also lent a hand to industrial workers, saying the government would endeavour to increase employment opportunities.

“India has become the fastest growing large economy in the world. We are committed to ensuring (that) this growth translates into jobs for all… To develop India into a global manufacturing hub, we have initiated the Make-in-India programme, emphasising on ease of doing business,” the PM signed off.