Lauding farmers for strengthening the country’s agriculture sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said they are playing a major role in building a self-reliant India.
Speaking on his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ broadcast, Modi said many farmers benefitted after fruits, vegetables were brought out of APMC Act in some states a few years ago. “Our agriculture sector has shown its prowess during the Covid-19 pandemic and farmers are playing a major role in efforts to build a self-reliant India,” he said.
Farmer unions across India have been protesting against the contentious agriculture reform bills passed by Parliament last week, fearing the new legislations would do away with Minimum Support Price and leave farmers at the mercy of corporates.
The BJP’s oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal walked out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the issue on Saturday, citing the Modi government’s “stubborn refusal” to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect the assured marketing of farmers’ crops at MSP.
The prime minister, meanwhile, has assured farmers that government purchase of their produce would continue and the MSPs won’t be scrapped, accusing the Congress and other opposition parties of “spreading lies” for political gains.
In his Sunday address, Modi took another dig at the Congress, saying that if the essence of Mahatma Gandhi’s economic philosophy was followed, there would not have been any need for the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign as India would have become self-reliant much earlier.
Talking about various success stories of farmer groups across states, Modi also said the agriculture sector will benefit immensely with greater use of technology in farming.
The prime minister began his monthly broadcast by talking about storytelling, saying it has been a part of our nation for centuries. “Storytelling is as old as civilisation…These days, stories relating to science are gaining popularity,” Modi said. He said many people are making storytelling popular across the country and underlined that India has a glorious tradition of storytelling.
He also interacted with members of the Bangalore Storytelling Society. Modi also requested all families to set aside some time for storytelling and said it will be a wonderful experience for them.