India's President Promises More Investment in Agriculture

INDIA - Agriculture is the source of livelihood for the majority of our people, the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee said at the first session of both houses of parliament after the general elections to the 16th Lok Sabha, writes Jagdish Kumar.
calendar icon 13 June 2014
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Government will increase investment in agriculture, both public and private, especially in agricultural infrastructure, as in the recent past, as our farmers have been under severe stress with hopelessness driving some of them to suicide, the President said.

He stressed that steps will be taken to convert farming into a profitable venture through scientific practices and agro-technology.

The President said that his government will address issues pertaining to pricing and procurement of agricultural produce, crop insurance, post-harvest management and productivity of animal husbandry will be increased.

Government will incentivise the setting up of food processing industries and existing cooperative sector laws will be reviewed to remove anomalies and lacunae.

He said that the government will adopt a National Land Use Policy which will facilitate scientific identification of non-cultivable land and its strategic development.

As a majority of farmers depend on rain for agriculture, the president said, government is committed to giving high priority to water security. It will complete the long pending irrigation projects on priority and launch the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (Prime Minister Agriculture Irrigation Scheme) with the motto of Har Khet Ko Paani (Every farm gets water), the president stressed.

The latest data shows that as many as 20 states reported a decrease in areas of cultivable land to the extent of 790,000 hectares in four years from 2007-08 to 2010-11.

The President also highlighted the need for seriously considering all options including linking of rivers, where feasible; for ensuring optimal use of water resources to prevent the recurrence of floods and drought.

By harnessing rain water through Jal Sanchay (water conservation) and Jal Sinchan (ground water recharge), water conservation can be nurtured and ground water recharged. Micro irrigation will be popularised to ensure per drop-more crop, the president pointed out.

In order to transport perishable agricultural products across the country cutting wastages, the president said that the country will have a network of freight corridors with specialised agri-rail networks.

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