Thursday, 19 February 2015

PM Sows Seeds for High Power Farming Panel

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday pushed for broader reform to revitalise the country’s agriculture sector by instructing states to set up expert committees, which along with NITI Aayog are to work out a common minimum programme to empower individual farmers.
“I have asked all the states to set up a high-power expert committee in all the states and the NITI Aayog in the Centre will also have a similar committee. All states should identify the agricultural problems and opportunities and they should all sit together with the Centre to prepare a common minimum programme for nationwide implementation,” the PM said  while launching the NDA government’s nationwide ‘Soil Health Card’ scheme from Suratgarh, Rajasthan.
Modi emphasised that till now, it used to be a top to bottom approach, but now, his government will adopt a bottom to top approach.
PM Narendra Modi presents Krishi Karman Awards in Suratgarh, Rajasthan on Thursday | pti
“Farmers should know about the health of soil. They should adopt scientific techniques for soil testing. Just like a blood test, farmers should get soil testing done every year to save money, labour and to boost agricultural production,” Modi said, adding that a new class of entrepreneurs could set up soil testing labs even in small towns. The Prime Minister also said that if a farmer plans the crop in three acres of land on the basis of a soil testing report, it may help in saving at least Rs 50,000 per year.
Modi said that to boost agriculture growth, it was also essential to use water judiciously and not waste a single drop. He said excess and scarcity of water were both dangerous, and therefore, the key to good agriculture was drops of water - “Boond boond paani”.
“I request farmers that for the growth of our country, we need to save water. “How to get maximum produce per drop is the key for our agricultural sector. We have to bring in a revolution in agriculture for India’s prosperity,” he said.
To ensure prosperity in their lives, the Prime Minister said, farmers should take up their activities in three parts — first,  carry on with traditional farming but also use scientific techniques; second, plant trees on unused boundaries of the field; and third, also take up poultry, fisheries and dairy for additional income that will also change the village economy.
The ‘Soil Health Card’ scheme is one of the key reforms that the NDA had launched last year as deteriorating soil health led to sub-optimal utilisation of farming resources. The Centre had also allocated Rs 100 crore for the scheme with an additional Rs 56 crore to set up 100 mobile soil testing labs across the country. About 14 crore Soil Health Cards are to be issued over the next three years.

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