New Delhi: The government is planning a drive to bring around seven crore remaining farmers under the Kisan Credit card scheme on the lines of Jan Dhan Yojna, agriculture minister Purushottam Rupala told the Rajya Sabha on Friday.
The Centre has already provided Kisan Credit Card to around 6.5 crore farmers and has plans to bring the rest under the cover.
This is a "priority scheme" of this government to bring the farmers under the institutional loans.
"There would be same drive for Kisan Credit card, which was for Jan Dhan Yojna," said Rupala, who is the minister of state for agriculture, while replying to a private member bill on farmers' issues.
He said under Jan Dhan Yojna, the government has added 30 crore banks accounts and wants to replicate the same success in adding farmers under Kisan Credit card.
"Presently only 6.5 crore farmers out of 14 crore are being able to get benefits of this institutional loans and rest are out from it," he said adding" The government had done work on mission mode to provide it."
According to him, presently the amount credited by this scheme is around Rs 14 lakh crore.
"When we formed the government, the total credit flow was around Rs 8 lakh crore and today it is around Rs 13.5 to 14 lakh crore," he said adding the government has almost doubled it.
Accepting the suggestion of some members to make villages itself a hub for basic food processing and storage purpose, Rupala said he would ask the officials to work in this direction.
Over the issues of shrinking of land size of individual farmers, Rupala said the government has now started to convince them to encourage combined farming to improve farm yields.
The agriculture production is on record level and the country is self dependent in pulses, he said.
The Minister said it would soon become self-sufficient in oil seeds in the next two years.
"We have to do a lot of things and we are going in the right direction," said Rupala.
He further added that urea is available for the farmers and there is no shortage in any state after the government started coating it with neem.
Rupala also added the government is now training the farmers to deal with the issue of excess usage of water.
The minister was replying to a resolution moved by BJP member Vijay Pal Singh Tomar.
Tomar sought hike in funds provided to the farmers as Kisan Samman Nidhi from Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000 per year and Bharat Ratna for farmers for their contribution to the society.
"India is primarily an agrarian based economy with more than 55 per cent population engaged in farming. Besides there are 15 per cent people who are engaged in allied sectors. Thus there are 70 per cent population dependent on farm sector."
He said the country will only be prosperous when farmers progress and get remunerative price for crops grown by them.
Tomar asked the government to educate farmers about the latest technologies and techniques to make the agriculture process simple and fast, besides ensuring proper implementation of Fasal Bima Yojna (Crop Insurance Scheme) so that farmers benefit from the scheme.
The member also urged the government to provide internet and wi-fi facility for all Government services at village/Gram Panchayat level to help the farmers to gain latest information of the world.
He asked the government to ensure that crops are not purchased or sold at prices lower than the Minimum Support Price announced by the Government and penal action is taken against the violations.
Tomar said government should fix a limit for the crop loan disbursed at 4 per cent interest on Kisan Credit Cards as per the paying capacity of the farmers, as is in vogue in the case of industries.
This is to enable farmers carry on his transactions for 5 years and is safeguarded against exploitation by banks, he said.
He suggested the government keep agriculture equipments outside good and service tax (GST).
The resolution also seeks to provide small and marginalised farmers, who constitute more than 85 per cent of the farmers in the country, with all those facilities that are being provided for setting up big food parks and cold chains.
It also calls for setting up storage and processing units by forming 'Krishak Samiti' in clusters so that there is participation of farmers in these activities and facilitates an increase in their income.
Supporting the resolution, S S Roy (TMC)said that violent attempts by capitalists to grab farmers land should be dealt with strictly and government should issue advisory to such states.
Congress leader Chhaya Verma,Harnath Singh (BJP) and Ravi Prakash Verma (SP) also supported the bill.
Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD) said there is an urgent need to look into the matters concerning farmers as they were the providers of food to the people of the country.
"If farmers strike then even Parliament would have to shut down," he said.
He said, while the government has been writing off loans worth crores of industrialists, the condition of farmers remained unchanged in the country.
Vijaysai Reddy (YSRCP) said India is an agrarian state and the country would collapse if support is not provided to farmers.
Pointing out to fragmented land holdings by farmers in the country, he urged the government to frame a policy to counter the trend.
Sanjay Singh (AAP), Ajay Pratap Singh (BJP) Harshvardhan Singh Dungarpur (BJP) and B Lingaiah Yadav (TRS) also participated in the debate.