Save water, diversify crops, create farm-linked jobs: PM
With back-to-back droughts influencing the agriculture output negatively, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for steps to conserve water and asked farmers to focus on crop diversification and go for allied activities like dairy, poultry and food processing to boost their income.
Inaugurating a three-day Krishi Unnati Mela, PM Modi said since May 2014 when it came to power, his government has taken several initiatives for agricultural growth, including introduction of a new insurance scheme and giving soil health cards to farmers, with a view to doubling their income by 2022.
As per the latest government data, the all-India average monthly income of agricultural households during the crop year July 2012-June 2013 was estimated at Rs 6,426.
He even gave a clarion call for second green revolution in eastern states, which have adequate water and fertile land, through adoption of modern technologies.
Putting a premium on water conservation to raise farm productivity and income, the Prime Minister added that the government has identified 90 stuck irrigation projects which can irrigate 80 lakh hectares. The government is spending Rs 20,000 crore to boost the irrigation projects.
Attacking the Opposition for claiming that all projects and programmes started when they were in power, the Prime Minister said: “You would be surprised to know that as much as 90 projects which are full of water like dams have been built, but there is no way to provide water to farmers.”
The Prime Minister spoke of funds from MNREGA programme to be utilised this summer for creation of assets such as ponds to conserve water.
“About MNREGA, many discussions take place, but no asset has been created. This government is emphasising... during this summer in every village, one work should be done through MNREGA and that is desilting of ponds, deepening of ponds and creating new ones. In this Budget, the government is aiming at five lakh ponds,” he added.
The Prime Minister asked farmers to continue with their regular farming activity, but also told them to adopt animal husbandry, grow timber and go for value addition and processing.
“Food processing is the best way to increase the farmers’ income,” he suggested.