In deciding to repeal the three farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again emerges as a leader who, while defying all odds, continues to appear bolder, more courageous and much more liberally accommodative in his approach. As a true democrat, he has always respected the values of democracy not only in letter but also in spirit. The decision, which may be seen from various angles—with detractors interpreting it through their own political lens, has in fact enhanced his stature as the tallest leader in the country, who, when the occasion demands, rises to break any deadlock with his human touch. As a leader who listens, cares and empowers the weakest among the weak and maintains restraint in the face of extreme provocation, he has become the Pradhan Sevak of the country in a real sense, keeping interests of the nation on the highest pedestal. On several occasions, he has exemplified the best in practising the dictum of ‘nation first, party next and self last’. The commitment to principles of democracy shows another unique aspect of the PM’s personality—he believes in democratic redistribution of national resources at the government’s disposal through various welfare measures, in the interest of the downtrodden and the deprived.
Even his worst critics cannot dispute the fact that the PM had farmers, agriculture sector and rural India in focus, in his quest for all-round development of the nation. Never before has there been a leader who could publicly declare a target of doubling farmers’ income with a deadline, and set his heart on revolutionising the agriculture sector, while creating a new ecosystem. While the agriculture sector was earlier seen as a liability for the nation and was left to fend for itself, the PM committed to transform it into an asset. Not only has the agriculture budget risen by around 5.5 times under the Modi government, but Rs 1.62 lakh crore has also been transferred to accounts of over 11 crore farmers. Farmers across the nation have received over Rs 1 lakh crore in compensation under the broad-based crop insurance scheme, and are availing a pension scheme for the first time in India’s history. Apart from doubling allocations in micro irrigation and crop loans, his government has enhanced the MSP of various foodgrains to 1.5 times of the investment, and brought many new crops under its umbrella, while breaking all records in procurement. The result of innumerable innovative initiatives like neem-coated urea, unprecedented support to farmers by heavily subsidising DAP and other fertilisers, issuing soil health cards, extension of Kisan Credit Card, extra focus on allied agricultural activities, allocation of Rs 1 lakh crore to develop agri-infrastructure, e-NAM, creation of 10,000 FPOs and others can be seen in record agricultural output even during the Covid-19 pandemic. The goal was clear right from the beginning—to give huge impetus to the agriculture sector, aimed at improving lives of farmers, villagers, the poor and the rural. The three farm bills were part of the same transformative agenda, aimed at creating a much-needed policy framework in the agriculture sector, with a vision of robust agricultural growth in the interest of small and marginal farmers of the country.