New Delhi: Facing stiff resistance from farmers in some of the northern Indian states on the three farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that “modernisation in the field of Indian agriculture is the need of the hour” as “we have already lost a lot of time”.
Addressing the nation in his monthly “Mann Ki Baat”, which was its 75th episode, the Prime Minister added that “adopting new alternatives, new innovations, along with traditional farming, are equally important to create new opportunities for employment in the agriculture sector; to increase the income of farmers”.
PM Modi also hailed the world’s largest vaccination programme being carried out in India against the Covid-19 and stressed on “dawai bhi, kadai bhi” (medicines as well as strict preventive measures).
Asserting that adopting modern practices in the agriculture sector is imperative, he said in every aspect of life, newness and modernisation are essential. “Modernisation is essential in all fields of life, otherwise it becomes a burden at times. Modernisation in the field of Indian agriculture is the need of the hour. It is already late and we have already lost a lot of time. To create new employment opportunities in the agriculture sector, to increase the income of farmers, it is equally important to adopt new alternatives and innovations, along with traditional farming practices. The country has experienced it during the white revolution,” he said.
The Prime Minister’s call for embracing modern practices in agriculture comes at a time when hundreds of farmers have been camping at Delhi's border points at Ghazipur, Singhu and Tikri since November last year demanding that the Centre repeal the three contentious farm laws.
Noting that bee farming is becoming the foundation of a honey revolution or sweet revolution in the country, Mr Modi said farmers in large numbers are associating with it.
The natural organic honey of the Sundarbans areas of West Bengal is in great demand in the country and the world, he said. “Just as a village Gurdum in Darjeeling, West Bengal. … people here started the work of honey bee farming, and today, there is a sizeable demand for honey harvested at this place. This is also increasing the income of farmers. I also have had one such personal experience in Gujarat… You will be happy to know that in such a short time, Banaskantha has become a major centre for honey production. Today, farmers of Banaskantha are earning lakhs of rupees annually through honey,” PM Modi added.
"In Yamuna Nagar, farmers are producing several hundred tons of honey annually, enhancing their income by doing bee farming. The production of honey in the country is continuously increasing, and annually, nearly 1.25 lakh tonne of honey is produced," he said.
During his radio broadcast, Mr Modi also recalled that in March last year, the nation first heard about the Janata curfew. Mr Modi said, "Last year it was this very month of March when the country heard the term ‘Janata Curfew’ for the first time. … It was an unprecedented example of discipline and generations to come will certainly feel proud at that. Similarly, expressing honour, respect for our corona warriors, ringing thaalis, applauding, lighting a lamp! … it’s a matter of honour for everyone that today, India is running the world’s largest vaccination programme."
On Mann Ki Baat completing 75 episodes, Mr Modi said it feels like just yesterday when in 2014 "we began this journey" and thanked all the listeners. "During Mann Ki Baat, we have discussed a wide range of subjects. We all have learnt so much. Diverse topics have been covered," he said.