Rest of Asia

India farmers' interests 'my top-most priority', PM Modi insists

IANS/Gandhinagar, India
Filed on December 16, 2020

(Reuters file photo)

"It is my government's intent and honest effort to bring down the farmers' agricultural production costs," Modi says.

Launching a scathing attack on the opposition parties for misleading farmers over the three new agricultural laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reiterated his government's commitment towards the farmers and said that protecting their interests was its topmost priority.

The PM spoke at a host of virtual ceremonies of projects in the Kutch region from Dhordo city in Gujarat.

Also read: India calls off parliament winter session due to Covid, budget session likely in Jan. 2021

Modi said: "The present agricultural laws had been the demand of farmers since a long time. Even those who are in the opposition today were supporting these bills earlier when they were in power, but could never take a decision on them and pacified the farmers with false assurances.

“I once again repeatedly convey to my farmer brothers that for each and every one of the farmers' doubts, my government will stand with you. The interests of farmers has been the top-most priority of my government right from day one."

"It is my government's intent and honest effort to bring down the farmers' agricultural production costs, provide better alternatives to them, increase their income and reduce their difficulties. I firmly believe that the thousands of farmers who have blessed the government all across the country, will reject all the misguidance provided to them," the Prime Minister added.

Modi said it was his government's intention to give freedom to the farmers, the freedom experienced by the dairy sector which is associated with agriculture.

"Dairy and fisheries are two sectors growing rapidly in the country, which very few people know. The government's interference in these sectors is minimal. The Anjar Dairy is the best example of it. When we started it in Kutch, there was very little hope expressed by everyone but I was firm to try it. Now look how the dairy sector has grown. Earlier, for processing milk it was sent to Gandhinagar, but now the milk is processed here and now the dairy capacity will be increased by two lakh litres. Through this new plant, value addition will also be possible for milk products," the PM added.

Modi added: “25 per cent of the agricultural income came from the dairy industry and those who were benefiting the maximum out of the dairy sector were the small farmers. The private and the co-operative players in the dairy sector play a maximum role in the trade with minimal interference from the government. The same applies to the horticultural sector."

"The overall milk production value in the country is more than that of foodgrains and pulses combined. The dairy sector is free from government hassles, so why should not this freedom be given to the farmers growing food grains and pulses? And it is this freedom that our government is making efforts for," Modi explained.

Modi was in his home state Gujarat on Tuesday to inaugurate the world's largest renewable solar and wind energy park.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Minister of State for Energy Saurabh Patel and Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja were also present in Tent City.

Modi arrived at the Tent City of Dhordo directly from Bhuj airport.

Before addressing a limited gathering of people and stakeholders of various projects, the PM inaugurated the world's largest renewable energy park comprising solar and wind energy with a capacity of 30,000 MW in Khavda, a border region of Kutch touching Pakistan.

Modi also performed the ground-breaking ceremony of four desalination plants at Gundiyali in Kutch and at Dwarka, Ghogha, Bhavnagar and Sutrapada Somnath, all in Saurashtra. He also presided over the ground-breaking ceremony of a 2 lakh litre milk chilling plant at Bhachau-Anjar in Kutch virtually from Dhordo.

After his address, Modi interacted with some farmers in Kutch and the border area of Kutch which also included farmers from Punjab. He also met the artisans making Kutch handicrafts.

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