Need ‘vocal for local’ in farm sector too, curb import of food items: PM

Observing that the Budget can become a means for “transformation” of life, agriculture and villages, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked officials to roll out the Budget proposals from April 1, “without wasting time”.

Modi also asked officials to reduce the country’s dependence on import of agricultural goods.

On import of food items, Modi said India is an agricultural country and should not bring even a single agricultural commodity from outside. He emphasised the need to follow the dictum “vocal for local” about food also. “India is an agricultural country. We should not bring even a single (food) item from outside to meet our requirements; we should produce according to the needs of the country,” Modi said.

Addressing a webinar on “positive impact” of Union Budget-2022 on the agriculture sector, Modi said, “Ek April se hi naya Budget lagoo hoga, usi din ham cheezon ko roll-out kar dein; kaam shuru kar dein (we must roll out the proposals and start work on April 1, itself, the day when new the Budget comes in effect.)”

Stating that the government has the “full month of March” to prepare, Modi said: “The Budget has already been presented in Parliament…. Without wasting time, we should do all preparations in March and plan to deliver the schemes to farmers in April, well before the new agriculture year starts in July.”

Modi also urged officials to rope in the corporate and financial world, start-up and technological firms in this effort.

Pointing out that the agriculture budget has increased manifold in the last six years, Modi said agricultural loans for farmers have also been increased by 2.5 times in the last seven years. “In the last seven years, we have prepared many new systems from seed to market (and) have improved the old systems,” he added.

Recounting that the PM-Kisan scheme was launched on this day three years ago, the Prime Minister said, “Today, this scheme has become a big support for small farmers.” He said nearly Rs 1.75 lakh crore have been given to 11 crore farmers across the country under this scheme.

“Direct money transfer in bank accounts of 10 crore to 12 crore farmers with just one click is a matter of pride for every Indian,” he said.

On the need to restrict import of food items, Modi said, “A trend is nowadays found in our middle-class and upper middle-class families…. In the name of protein, in the name of calcium, many products are now making a place on the dining table. Many (such) products are coming from abroad and they are not even as per Indian taste.”

The Prime Minister also mentioned the seven points suggested in the Union Budget to make agriculture “modern and smart.” These include natural farming on mission mode within a radius of 5 km on both banks of the Ganga; use of modern technology in agriculture and horticulture; focus on mission oil palm to reduce import of edible oil; providing logistics arrangements for transportation of agricultural products through the PM Gati Shakti plan; increasing farmers’ income through waste to energy; one and a half lakh post offices of the country will get facilities like regular banks so that farmers do not face any problem; and changing the syllabus of agri-research and education according to the modern times.


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