SAYING the problems faced by Indian farmers can’t be resolved unless the input cost in agriculture is reduced, Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari on Saturday called upon members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) to work in rural areas for socio-economic transformation of rural India.
In his address to delegates at the 66th national convention of ABVP in Nagpur, Gadkari called for a shift to organic farming and making agricultural profitable by integrating it with the allied production of bio-fuels.
The Union minister, however, made no mention of the ongoing massive protests by farmers on the borders of Delhi against the three new farm laws enacted recently.
“I have been working in the field of agriculture for many years now. I am pained by farmers’ suicides. Farming contributes only 8-12 per cent to the GDP as against the 22 per cent contributed by the industrial sector and 56 per cent by the service sector. I feel the farmers’ main problem is high input cost. Unless that is reduced, he will not come out of crisis,” said Gadkari.
He suggested that shifting to organic farming and allied production of bio-fuels are the remedies to improve the condition of farmers. “Input cost is growing but farmers’ produce price is not growing. Many crops get sold below minimum support price,” he said, and cited the example of corn farmers in Bihar. “In Bihar, corn is getting sold at Rs 1,100 per quintal as against the MSP of Rs 1,700 per quintal. The international price of sugar is Rs 22 per kg while in India it is Rs 34 per kg… we are sugar surplus…. 280 lakh tonne foodgrains are lying and rotting in our godowns. So, input cost needs to be brought down and the crop pattern needs to be changed,” said Gadkari.
“The bio-fuel economy’s potential is worth Rs 20,000 crore. We need to shift to this import-substitution in all our fuel-based needs. I have asked Maharashtra’s power generation company to set up 1,000 units to produce ethanol in two years. We need to shift to organic farming by using home-made cow-urine based jeevamrut. These things are essential if we want to become atmanirbhar (self-reliant),” he said.
During his speech, the BJP leader also attributed his success as minister for transport to his development as a human being in RSS. “I have had the privilege to watch three RSS stalwarts, Yashwantrao Kelkar (ABVP founder), Dattopant Thengdi (Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh founder) and Bhaurao Deoras (RSS ideologue). They always groomed the volunteers, inculcating values of commitment to work as part of the organisation. Many times, foreign reporters ask me how I am able to do so much work. I ask them if they have heard of RSS,” said Gadkari.
He further said that understanding the way an organisation is run in RSS can be useful in modern corporate management, and revealed that he is writing two books, called India Aspires and India Inspires, in which he will be discussing these ideas.
Gadkari also honoured an ABVP activist from Bihar, Manish Kumar, with the organisation’s Yashwantrao Kelkar award for his work in rural reconstruction.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines