MP will need Rs 1 trillion to reboot economy: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

So far, about 70,000 workers have returned. As many as 2,000-3,000 are returning daily from different states. Under MNREGA, 97,363 employment oriented works have started in 22,226 panchayats in the state, Chouhan said on plans to provide work to migrants returning to MP.
In an interview, Madhya Pradesh (MP) Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tells Sanjeeb Mukherjee and Archis Mohan that the farm loan waiver scheme of the previous Kamal Nath government was a “trick of phantasm”, indicating that his government could review it. Edited excerpts:

There have been reports of MP government reviewing the loan waiver scheme started by the Kamal Nath government. Why do you think it is needed?

The Congress government’s loan waiver scheme was a mere projection and illusionary method. The Congress spoke a lot about signing the file of loan waivers right after Nath’s oath-taking ceremony, but it was a phantasm. People of the state know the reality. We, in the BJP and MP government, believe farmers are the backbone of the economy. We do not want them to be presented as victims or people with low self-esteem by giving them such false dreams and very small waivers. We believe in making them financially strong and efficient, so that the state becomes more capable. My government is for the welfare of farmers are all our steps will be in that direction.

Do you think industry/MSMEs need a package?

Of the total 370 large industries in the state, 173 are currently operational. Of these, 40 are pharmaceuticals, 34 food processing, 15 consumer goods, 25 packaging and 59 other industries.

Similarly, out of 22,307 small and medium industries, 1,449 units are operational. There are 30,000 workers employed in these units. Industries are allowed to work at 40 to 50 per cent of their production capacity.

We are in middle of the Covid-19 crisis. The state’s economy has been adversely affected because of the blocking of economic activities. To improve and revitalise our economy, we have received valuable suggestions by the expert committee of experienced economists.

An estimated Rs 1 trillion will be required to provide packages for improvement. Small businessmen will also need a grant from the state government to build their business. Rural labourers will have to be provided employment in their villages. As soon as we come up with resolution of the package, we will certainly inform about it.

The state government recently amended the APMC Act to facilitate setting up of new private mandis and single licence for trading across MP. How will farmers benefit from this?

It will benefit both farmers and traders. Now traders will be able to go to the farmers’ houses or buy crops from the farm by procuring a licence. There will be a single licence for the state. Traders will be able to buy crops anywhere. We have also implemented an e-trading system, in which prices of mandis across the country will be available to farmers. They will have access to any market in the country and similarly traders will have the choice to buy the crop they prefer.

What is the status of wheat and chana procurement?

Around 4.5 million tonnes (MT) of wheat has been purchased by the state government at the support price, and Rs 4,100 crore has been deposited in the accounts of farmers for their produce. Of the 867 procurement centres, procurement of gram, lentil and mustard has also been started at 247 centres. In the first four days of purchase, 788 tonnes of produce was purchased at support price.

What is the estimate of the number of migrants returning to MP, and is there any plan to provide them with work?

So far, about 70,000 workers have returned. As many as 2,000-3,000 are returning daily from different states. Under MNREGA, 97,363 employment oriented works have started in 22,226 panchayats in the state. Through them, 724,848 labourers are being provided employment. All districts, except those classified as hotspots, have been instructed to initiate employment generating work.

Apart from this, in the last one-and-a-half months, we have deposited Rs 6,526 crore through various schemes in the accounts of labourers, the poor and elderly. Farmers have been paid Rs 2,000 crore during wheat procurement.

You have introduced a lot of changes to labour laws in the past few days. Critics say this will lead to indiscriminate hiring and firing?

The changes have been brought about to attract new investments and won't be applicable to existing units. Moreover, the relaxations are for a specific period and once the industries start running, all norms will apply.


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