Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation, Shri Amit Shah inaugurated the National Mega Conclave on FPO in the cooperative sectorand released the action plan for formation of 1100 new FPOs by PACS in New Delhi today. On this occasion Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister of State, Ministry of Cooperation, Shri BL Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Cooperation, Shri Gyanesh Kumar and Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Manoj Ahuja were also present along with several dignitaries.
In his address, Shri Amit Shah said that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi took the decision to set up a separate Ministry of Cooperation with a different vision. He said that the cooperative movement in our country is very old, but after 75 years of independence, when we look back, it seems that the cooperative movement in the country got divided into many parts. He said that from the point of view of cooperatives, the country can be divided into three categories – states, where the cooperative movement has been successful in advancing and strengthening itself, states, where the cooperative movement is still going on, and States, where the cooperative movement is almost dead. Shri Shah said that in such a large country, where about 65 crore people are engaged in agriculture, it has become very essential to revive the cooperative movement, modernize it, bring transparency in it and aim to achieve new heights. He said in the field of agriculture and rural development through cooperatives movement only, every person can be made prosperous. Shri Shah said that it does not matter whether one has capital or not, but if one has the courage and passion to work hard and the ability to take oneself forward, then the cooperative movement is a great medium for making such people prosperous who lack capital. He said that the cooperative movement can make a significant contribution towards strengthening the country’s 65 crore people associated with agriculture and making them prosperous by combining their small capital through cooperatives and turning into a big capital.
Union Minister of Cooperation said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Ministry of Cooperation has taken several initiatives in the last two years. He said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, it was decided to form FPOs in the country. He said that after becoming the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi took several steps to strengthen agriculture and make farmers prosperous and one of them is FPOs. Farmers have benefited a lot through these, but in the cooperative sector, FPO and its benefits have reached to very limited amount and this happened because we did not fix the targets to achieve the goal .Shri Shah said that he said that if PACS becomes an FPO, then the benefits of FPO will reach to all the farmers of PACS. He said that FPOs formed through PACS have the maximum potential to make the farmers prosperous. In the coming days, Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Cooperation will work together with the mantra of three-pronged rural development and prosperity through PACS, FPOs and SHGs. He said that if PACS want to become FPO then NCDC can help them and there is no limit for this and this conclave will further speed up the cooperative movement in the country.
Shri Amit Shah said that agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries-based economic activities are the strength of the Indian economy, but they are never discussed in the country. He said that today these three sectors together make up 18 percent of India’s GDP. Shri Shah said that in a way agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries are the backbone of the country’s economy and strengthening them means strengthening the country’s economy. He said that if GDP increases through manufacturing, then the employment figures do not increase that much, but if agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries are strengthened through cooperatives, then along with GDP, employment opportunities will also increase.
The Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation said that about 65 percent of the people in India are engaged in agriculture and allied activities directly and about 55 percent of the workforce is engaged in agriculture and allied activities. He said that all other services are also indirectly dependent on agriculture in rural areas. Shri Shah said that today 86 percent of the farmers of the country are small and marginal farmers, who have less than one hectare of land. He said that India is the only country in the whole world which did not allow small farmers to become laborers and they are the owners of their land. He said that in order to modernize agriculture, get good prices for agricultural produce and make agriculture profitable, we have to move out of traditional methods and adopt today’s contemporary methods and this PACS as FPOs is a new beginning in this series.
Shri Amit Shah said that it is the In Toto responsibility of the government and the cooperative sector to ensure that the life of all those associated with agriculture is as comfortable as that of the people involved in the service sector. He said that FPO was conceived in 2003 by Yogendra Alag Committee during the time of Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He said that when Shri Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of the country, he decided to implement the suggestion of FPO. Shri Shah said that the magnitude of this initiative is that today 11,770 FPOs are working in the country and through these and through these, lakhs of farmers of the country have been successful in increasing their income. He said that it was announced in the budget to set up 10,000 FPOs and the target is to achieve this by the year 2027. He said that under the leadership of Shri Modi, the Government of India has allocated Rs 6900 crore to achieve this goal. Shri Shah said that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has come with up such concept that entire system from input to output, from manufacturing to processing and grading and from packaging to marketing and storage, that is the entire system from agricultural production to marketing should be under FPO. Shri Shah said that procurement of inputs, market information, dissemination of technology and innovation, aggregation of inputs for production, facilities for storage, drying, cleaning and grading have been done by FPOs. FPOs have also made arrangements for brand building as well as packaging, labeling and standardization processes, quality control, getting higher price to the farmer by associating with institutional buyers and corporate houses. FPOs havealso become the medium for dissemination of the schemes by informing the farmers about all the government schemes.
Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation called upon all the FPOs of the country to continue working in the same manner, but also to keep integrating PACS alongside. He said that a new hybrid model should be designed so that a completer system for information exchange, profit sharing and marketing based on the arrangement between the PACS and the FPO can be put in place. Shri Shah said that the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has provided loans of over Rs. 127 crore to FPOsso far, which is in addition to Rs. 6,900 crores. In tribal districts, 922 FPOs have been formed for work related to the forest produce. This showcases the meticulous way in which the Modi government and Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, have moved forward. He said that the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab have done excellent work in the field of FPOs.
Shri Amit Shah said that we have to establish amongst youth that agriculture is a profitable business, and it needs to be practiced in a modern way with proper marketing. He said that if such a confidence is instilled in the 12 crore farmers of the nation, then not only agricultural production will increase, but the contribution of agriculture to the GDP will increase. It will also make not only make these 12 crore farmers self-reliant but the nation will also become self-reliant. Shri Shah said that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has taken many initiatives in this regard and now through cooperative- FPO, the Modi government will move forward in the direction of making farmers into businessmen and entrepreneurs.
Minister of Cooperation said that during the tenure of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the budget allocation for agriculture sector has increased by 5.6 times. He said that while in the year 2013-14, the agriculture budget was of Rs 21,000 crore, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, it has increased to Rs 1.15 lakh crore in the year 2023-24. He said that earlier the combined budget was Rs 21,000 crore, but now the budget of Ministry of Agriculture alone is Rs 1.15 lakh crore. This showcases the priority given by the Prime Minister and the government to agriculture.
Shri Amit Shah said that the country produced 265 million tonnes of food grains in 2013-14 and 324 million tonnes in 2022-23. He said that some farmers want to talk about MSP and the government is ready to discuss it. Shri Shah said that there has been an increase of 55% in MSP of Paddy and 51% of MSP of Wheat in 10 years. He said that the present government under the leadership of Shri Modi is the first government after independence which has fixed at least50% more profit than the cost incurred by the farmers. He said that the Modi government has increased paddy procurement by 88% which means almost double paddy has been procured and wheat procurement has increased by around two-thirds, that is, 72%. He said that the work of purchasing 251 lakh metric tonnes of wheat has been done by the Modi government and the number of beneficiaries has almost doubled. He said that this shows how much work has been done by the Modi government for the welfare of the farmers. Along with this, organic farming has been promoted, 60 lakh farmers are covered through micro irrigation of 72 lakh hectares, created micro irrigation fund, created National Edible Oil Mission, created agricultural infrastructure fund of Rs .24000 crore, created fund for agricultural mechanization and the work of connecting about 1260 mandis through e-NAM has also been done by the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
The Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation said that there has been a radical change in the agriculture sector during the Modi government and now the Ministry of Cooperation has been created so that its benefits reach the farmers. He said that according to the mantra of cooperative, the profit goes to the one who does hard work in fields and this has been ensured by the Ministry of Cooperation.
Shri Amit Shah said that the Modi government has done many things in the cooperative sector. Bylaws of PACS have been made which have been accepted by 26 states. Now, PACSwill be able to function as Dairy and fishermen committee, will also be able to run petrol pump, gas agency, CSC,cheaper medicine shop and cheaper grain shop, will be able to do storage work. Not only this PACS will be able to perform commercial work in water management under Har Ghar Jal committee of the village. Shri Shah said that the Modi government has decided to link 22 different works with PACS. He said that unless PACS is strong, APACS can never be strong. If FPOs, PACS and Self Help Groups complement each other, then a new era of rural development and agricultural development will begin in the coming days.