In first Cabinet meeting, government reaches out to farmers, traders
The existing PM-KISAN scheme will now target another 20 million families at a total annual cost of Rs 87,217.5 crore.
The government, at its first Cabinet meeting convened shortly after ministers were assigned portfolios, decided that the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha would start June 17. FM Nirmala Sitharaman will present the budget on July 5, a day after Economic Survey is tabled.
The existing PM-KISAN scheme, which aims to pay 125 million families of small and marginal farmers Rs 6,000 a year, will now target another 20 million families at a total annual cost of Rs 87,217.5 crore.
“The Union Cabinet has approved extending the ambit of the scheme by including all landholding eligible farmer families under the scheme, subject to the prevalent exclusion criteria,” a government spokesman said.
The Cabinet approved the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Pension Yojana, a voluntary and contributory scheme for small and marginal farmers aged 18-40 years. They will get at least Rs 3,000 a month after they are 60 years old. The Centre will contribute the same amount that the farmer pays.
“The Modi government is committed to the welfare of farmers. In its first Cabinet, we delivered what we promised them. We will continue to provide benefits to our farming community through various interventions,” said Narendra Singh Tomar, the newly appointed minister of agriculture and farmer welfare, rural development and panchayati raj.
A similar scheme is being offered to small traders. All small shopkeepers and self-employed people as well as retail traders with GST turnover of less than Rs 1.5 crore and aged 18-40 years can enrol for this scheme, the government said.
Minister for environment, forest & climate change and information & broadcasting Prakash Javadekar said the government’s quick action showed its resolve.
“The Modi government is probably the first government which has swung into action in less than 24 hours of oath-taking. This shows our commitment towards our people who have shown faith in us,” he said.
In another initiative for farmers, the Cabinet approved a Rs 13,343-crore scheme to control foot and mouth disease and brucellosis, which are common in cows, buffaloes, sheep, goats and pigs. These animals will be vaccinated under the scheme. So far, the cost has been shared between the Centre and the states.
“In a rare instance of departure, the central government has decided to now bear the entire cost of the programme,” the government said.