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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday pitched for an “evergreen revolution” to enable the country to meet the challenge faced by the agriculture sector. He emphasised the need for moving from the concept of ‘food security’ to ‘nutrition security’, for which he favoured the scientific and technological intervention. He said the government is working in this direction as part of its “dream” to ensure that the farmers’ income doubles by 2022, when the country celebrates its 75th Independence day.
“The population is increasing but the land is not going to increase…We have to see how the productivity increases… There should be more production in less land,” Modi said while releasing a two-part book series on renowned agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan at his residence here.
“The challenge in the agriculture sector remains. We keep talking about green revolution-I and green revolution-II. But the goal should be ‘evergreen revolution’. We should have sustainable agricultural production,” he said.
He said malnutrition is a challenge and therefore the pulses need to have improved nutrition quotient. He spoke about the “economic imbalance” among various regions of the country and said this needs to be addressed because “the country cannot run for long with the imbalance”.
The prime minister said the potential of various regions of the country needs to be mapped and suggested integration of traditional system of farming with the scientific ways of agriculture. He said that on the pattern of industrial clusters, agriculture clusters should be created, wherein different areas could be identified with particular crops.
This would also help in streamlining of storage and transportation, means for which differ with different crops, Modi said as he released the book series titled ‘M.S. Swaminathan: The Quest for a world without hunger’. Talking about the government’s objective of doubling the farmers’ income by 2022, Modi said Swaminathan had recently given him some suggestions on which he was working.
“The idea is to have less cost, more production,” the prime minister said. He referred to his slogans of ‘per drop, more crop’ and ‘lab to land’ while emphasising the need for more scientific research in the field of agriculture. Mentioning the government programmes, Modi said the crop insurance under the Prime Minister’s Fasal Bima Yojana has recorded a seven-fold jump in just one year of its launch.
He added that after neem coating of urea, its “theft” has reduced and the consumption of the fertiliser has also gone down without affecting the production.
Modi said water scarcity is a big problem and there should be a vision of at least 50 years to address this issue. This will involve sensitisation of the people regarding the seriousness of the issue, he said. “The water problem should be seen as equivalent to the human problem,” he said. “For cost-effective farming, there is a need for water,” he said and in this context, mentioned about the schemes like PM Krishi Sichai Yojana and interlinking of rivers.
Noting that the country has 85 per cent marginal farmers, the prime minister emphasised the need for creating more awareness about the use of scientific and technological knowhow in the agriculture sector. Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, he said the Father of the Nation had said that for a hungry person, food is his God. Modi regretted that the youth of today were not getting inspired enough by the scientists like Swaminathan even while they get inspired by sportspersons, film stars or even some politicians.
“I don’t know whether the fault lies with the system or with the mindset but it is there,” he said. Modi showered praise on Swaminathan, particularly appreciating his humility despite having seen so many prime ministers. Swaminathan said the country has not seen any famine after the ‘great Bengal famine’ during the time of Independence but “there is no time to relax”.
He said there is “so much to do” and ensure “nutrition security wherein everybody gets balanced food, clean drinking water and sanitation.”