NDA focus on Covid, farms
Two principal pushes have been announced at the first meeting of the revamped Union Council of Ministers on Thursday, namely to form a Rs 23,123 crore package to address serious inadequacies in the health care sector and, two, a promise to farmers that a budgeted Rs 1 lakh crore infrastructure fund could be used via the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) by way of loans and interest waivers. Both are major commitments.The package for the health care sector would take care of requirements regarding additional creation of ICU beds, medicines and manpower at a time when a third wave of the pandemic is looming large. The plans must be framed fast and implementation done in right earnest. Else, the purpose of earmarking such a huge fund could remain on paper and damage would already have been inflicted on lives across the nation.
A lot of money has been injected into the various sectors of the economy since March last by way of multiple packages announced by the Union Finance Ministry. Whether this has helped the ordinary folks at the ground level needs be ascertained. The usual practice here is that the high and mighty with direct links with the ruling establishment would pocket such funds. Play of vested interests is such that the common man will continue to groan under the impact of seasonal tragedies that befall the nation. It is important that the government introduces proper mechanisms to check and monitor how the valuable funds and packages announced for various sectors are being utilized and to what extent the purposes are served.
The offer to farmers is with a view to helping end the present farmers’ agitation at the border regions of Delhi. If farmers are provided with more funds and facilities, they will be fine. After all, they produce our food with their sweat. Some 80 per cent of those who are engaged in agricultural production are small and medium farmers. Care must principally go to them. However, the affluent farmers from Punjab and Haryana, the main beneficiaries of the Green Revolution, are in the forefront of the ongoing agitation demanding that the Modi government fully withdraw the farm reform legislations brought out last year in the form of the much-awaited agricultural reforms.Farmers in other states are not involved in the agitation in any significant way. Some leftist outfits too are fishing in the troubled waters. It is important that funds from the Centre to the agriculture sector should principally benefit the small and medium farmers.