Undeterred by the selfish pursuits of self-styled, anti-social elements, Rajasthan farmers boycotted protests arranged by the BKS (Bharatiya Kisan Sangh): a mature and rational decision on their part. When the neighboring states were blazing in the flames farmer protests, farmers in Rajasthan expressed their faith in the current Raje government. This Monday, the Rajasthan farmers’ organization had a late-night meeting with government officers to discuss on state agricultural policies and farmer benefits.
Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government has always patronized farmer rights in the state. The government had launched several schemes and campaigns, including low-premium farmer insurance, interest-free crop loans, Kisan credit cards etc. Not to mention, the government decided to organize GRAM (Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet), a global agricultural conference showcasing latest innovations in agriculture. After Jaipur and Kota, GRAM will be held in every division to ensure maximum participation by farmers.
Taking one step further in this direction, the government took some important decision at the meeting—
- In the next assembly session, the government will reserve its first few days for discussing major farmer issues in the house. It’ll continue in all the future assembly sessions thereafter.
- Both MP and Gujarat have stringent laws on minimum support price or MSP in the open markets and mandis. Under this law, the state sets a fixed market price for all agricultural commodities. In case a farmer is paid below the preset MSP, he or she will be punished by the law. Raje government has set up a committee for implementing this law in Rajasthan.
- The government will give relaxation on payment of electricity bills. Rather than paying electricity bills every two months, the farmers will have to pay their bills twice a year (at the gap of six months).
- The government will install electronic weighing machines in every mandi.
- The government will bear the costs of setting up solar panels for electric connections of 3 or 5 HP.
- Chief minister Vasundhara Raje summoned Agriculture Minister Prabhu Lal Saini and Cooperative Minister Ajay Singh Kilak to chalk out a strategy on farmer welfare.
Expressing content over these decisions, the state general secretary of BKS Mr. Kailash Gandoliya decided to call off farmer agitation in Rajasthan.
Meanwhile, the farmers in Alwar’s Malakheda village gathered near the gram panchayat office to ponder over farmer benefits provided by the Rajasthan government. While the farmers were content with the facilities provided by the government, they want to trade loan waivers with fixed remunerative prices of agricultural commodities. A couple of days back, there were reports of Rajasthan government buying quinoa and garlic from farmers that produced these in bulk.
Nevertheless, a few farmers expressed their concern over not getting the right value for their farm products. Other states like Punjab, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have announced loan waivers that collectively touched the Rs 1-lakh crore mark. But the far-sighted farmers of Rajasthan saw it as an additional burden on the state exchequer and a temporary solution to their issues. Knowing the importance of “production cost and market value of goods”, they decided to put this request before the government.
Raje government has always been an ardent supporter of remunerative farming. Considering this fact, it’s safe to say that the government is likely to fulfill this ‘unusual’ demand by the farmers, knowing that it’ll benefit them in the long run.