Gorakhpur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release the first tranche of direct income transfer of ₹2,000 from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh today, as part of the recently announced Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi today, or PM-Kisan scheme.
Preparations have been at full swing at the Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd’ (FCIL) grounds here to host Modi at the Kisan Morcha or the farmer’s rally in the backdrop of the Election Commission of India (ECI) shortly expected to announce the dates for the 17th general election.The government proposes to reach all beneficiaries by 31 March before the model code of conduct comes into effect, with the scheme is expected to form a major component of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) electoral campaign.
“Tomorrow is a historic day! The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi will be launched from Gorakhpur. This is a scheme that will give wings to the aspirations of crores of hardworking farmers of India who feed our nation," Modi tweeted on Saturday.
In a bid to win back the support of disgruntled farmers ahead of general election due in April-May, the Narendra Modi government in its final budget announced an income support scheme for small farmers. Small and marginal farmers who own less than five acres (two hectares) of land will receive three installments of ₹2,000 each every year, with the scheme having an eligibility cut-off date of 1 February.
“Tomorrow’s launch of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi demonstrates two things: NDA's unwavering commitment to farmer welfare. Speedy decision making- a scheme announced on 1st February has become a reality in such a short span. This is the new work culture of New India!" Modi said in another tweet on Saturday.
With the state and central government officials and the BJP workers and leaders trying to make a success of the rally, all flights to Gorakhpur have been full and so are the hotel rooms. BJP president Amit Shah reached Gorakhpur on Saturday. The rally is also expected to be attended by home minister Rajnath Singh and agriculture and farmers welfare minister Radha Mohan Singh.
The importance of choosing Gorakhpur as a venue isn’t lost on its denizens and is being seen as ruling BJP’s attempt to win-bank the lost ground. Last year BJP lost the prestigious Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency earlier represented by chief minister Yogi Adityanath. It also lost the Phulpur seat won by deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya in 2014 general elections.
According to the government, the PM-Kisan scheme will help 120 million farmer families live with respect, besides helping pay for cultivation costs and reducing debts. The PM-Kisan scheme is expected to cost ₹20,000 crore in 2018-19, and ₹75,000 crore in 2019-20 and will cover 86% of all farm households in India.
Modi will also lay the foundation stone of the 2000 km long liquified petroleum gas (LPG) pipeline that will connect Kandla in Gujarat to Gorakhpur. This comes in the backdrop of India pushing for a gas-based economy. Also, he will lay the foundation stone of the Gorakhpur—Azamgarh express way.
There are signs of ongoing construction everywhere, from the metalled airport road to a new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences coming up. Infants had died at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College Hospital in the worst public health crisis the state had seen. Gorakhpur has also been a focus of the NDA government as part of its efforts to revive the sick fertiliser units in Uttar Pradesh, Sindri in Jharkhand, Barauni in Bihar and Talcher in Odisha.
This show of strength also comes at a time when the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have joined hands in Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. BJP is focussing on UP given that it sends the largest number of MPs to Parliament. Interestingly, another of the government’s marquee scheme—Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), that provides free cooking gas connections to poor families was also launched from Ballia in UP.