Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar has responded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent criticism of his contributions to the farming community. Pawar, who served as the Union agriculture minister during the Congress-led UPA government’s tenure from 2004 to 2014, emphasized the significant increase in minimum support prices (MSPs) for food grains and the introduction of key agricultural initiatives during his leadership.
In a public event in Shirdi, PM Modi questioned Pawar’s impact on farmers, stating that some leaders in Maharashtra engaged in political posturing in the name of farmers. Pawar, while acknowledging his respect for the Prime Minister, presented a robust defense of his record.
Pawar cited the substantial growth in MSPs during his tenure, highlighting that the MSP for rice had risen from Rs 550 in 2004 to Rs 1,310 by 2014, marking a remarkable 168% increase. He also pointed out that crops like soybean experienced a 198% increase in MSP.
Furthermore, Pawar detailed his ambitious initiatives, such as the National Horticulture Mission and the ‘Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana,’ which played a pivotal role in transforming the agriculture sector.
He underlined that his efforts had led to a second green revolution, expanding rice production beyond traditional states like Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh to regions in the northeast, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha.
In addition to Pawar’s response, NCP leader and Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule noted that the Narendra Modi government had honored Sharad Pawar with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, for his outstanding contributions to the agriculture sector.