President Pranab Mukherjee Sunday said there was a pressing need now to focus on research and development in the field of agriculture to increase production so as to achieve the legal compulsion of providing food to each and every citizen in India under the food security scheme.
Mukherjee was speaking at a function in Baramati where he inaugurated a new facility at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) and also a technology exhibition on its premises. He said: “The food security Bill is the largest socio-economic scheme in the world. But its success will depend on the agricultural production. Soon, our population will reach the 1.2 billion mark. No country in the world is able to feed 1.2 billion people. If we want to succeed in doing that, we will have to increase the production of foodgrain by improving our farming technologies. We can’t relent and have a complacent attitude about the farm research.”
President Mukherjee said the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, 2013 has underlined the importance of fostering innovations in agriculture. This policy has also envisaged a greater mentoring role for grassroots institutions like KVKs.
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said in the last four decades the KVKs functioning in every district of the country had immensely contributed to the development of new technologies and their extension to the fields.
Praises Pawar for choosing Agriculture Ministry
The President praised Pawar for choosing Agriculture Ministry in 2004 when the UPA 1 government was being formulated. He said Pawar could demand any other portfolio at that time. “Just before the government was about to be formed, I met Sharad Pawar and invited him and his party to join the government as a partner. He agreed. I asked him what portfolio he wanted. I was expecting that he would ask for Ministry of Home Affairs or at least Defence Ministry since he had already been a defence minister before. However, I was startled when he asked for Ministry of Agriculture. But today we are rejoicing that under his able leadership we have achieved a good agricultural growth,” said Mukerjee.