NEW DELHI: Keeping the agrarian distress in mind, the BJP on Monday promised a slew of measures, including pension for small and marginal farmers upon attainment of 60 years of age, in its manifesto.
The BJP also reiterated its 2014 promise of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022 while promising an investment of Rs 25 lakh crore in the agri-rural sector to boost productivity.
Another significant measure in the manifesto is an interest-free loan of up to Rs 1 lakh for farmers for a period of 1-5 years. However, the loan would be granted on a condition that the principal is paid back within the stipulated time.
Speaking of the feasibility of the pension scheme for farmers, former chairman of the Institute of Rural Development, Anand, YK Alagh said the step is in the right direction.
“It is a good scheme but the delivery would be the key. For instance, if the scheme is implemented through the Panchayati raj system, the pension agents would benefit more than the farmers themselves. So, the implementation is the most important aspect of the promise. More comments can be made once the details of the scheme are furnished,” he said.
The BJP has also promised to launch a mission to attain self-sufficiency and a National Bee-keeping and Honey Mission to double the honey production.
The manifesto also assured the formation of a new ministry — the Jal Shakti Ministry — to unify water management functions and expedite the river linking scheme.
The new ministry will also have a Jal Jivan Mission under which the saffron party has promised a ‘Nal se Jal’ programme to ensure piped water supply to every household in the country by 2024.