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  • PM Modi says agricultural sector of country, farmers & villages are very basis of Atmanirbhar Bharat

    Published on September 27, 2020

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India will become self reliant only when the farmers and villages are empowered. Addressing the nation in his Mann Ki Baat program on All India Radio, Mr Modi said the agricultural sector of the country, farmers and villages are the very basis of Atmanirbhar Bharat. He said even in this hour of crisis, agricultural sector has shown its resilience. He added that in the recent past, farmers have liberated themselves from many restrictions and tried to break free from many myths. Mr Modi said farmers have the power to sell their fruits and vegetables, anywhere and to anyone.


     
    He stressed that this power has now also been imparted to other farmers of the country. They now have the freedom to sell whatever they are cultivating, be it paddy, wheat, mustard, sugarcane, at any place where they can get a higher price.


     
    Mr Modi gave the example of Kanwar Chauhan from Sonipat district of Haryana. There was a time when Kanwar Chauhan used to face great difficulties in marketing his fruits and vegetables outside the mandi. If he tried to sell his fruits and vegetables outside the mandi, his produce and carts would get confiscated. In 2014, fruits and vegetables were excluded from the APMC Act, which greatly benefited him and fellow farmers in the neighborhood. Four years ago, he along with fellow farmers of his village formed a Farmer Producer’s Organization. Today, farmers in his village cultivate sweet corn and baby corn. Their produce is being supplied directly to Azadpur Mandi, Delhi, Big Retail Chains and Five Star Hotels. Mr Modi said these farmers are earning two and a half to three lakh rupees per acre annually by cultivating sweet corn and baby corn. Not only this, more than 60 farmers of this village, through construction of net house and poly house are producing various varieties of tomato, cucumber and capsicum and earning from 10 to 12 lakh rupees per acre every year.


     
    The Prime Minister said fruits and vegetables were excluded from the purview of APMC in Maharashtra about three or four years ago. He cited Sri Swami Samarth Farm Producer Company Limited as an example of how this reform changed the state of farmers growing fruits and vegetables in Maharashtra. He said farmers in Pune and Mumbai are themselves running weekly markets. In these markets, the produce of about four and a half thousand farmers of nearly 70 villages is sold directly without any middleman. Mr Modi said the rural youth are directly involved in the process of farming and selling to this market.


     
    He gave another example of Tamil Nadu Banana farmer produce company which is a farmers collective. This Farmer Collective purchased hundreds of metric tons of vegetables and fruits from nearby villages during the lockdown, and supplied a vegetable combo kit to the city of Chennai.


     
    The Prime Minister mentioned another group of farmers from Lucknow who named themselves Iraada. During the lockdown, they too procured fruits and vegetables directly from the cultivator’s fields, and sold directly in the markets of Lucknow, free from the middlemen, and got whatever price they demanded.



    Mr Modi spoke about Ismail Bhai from Rampura village of Banaskantha in Gujarat, who has an interesting story. Ismail Bhai’s family tried to deter him from farming, but he had resolved that he would dispel the notion of farming being a loss making activity. He started farming, albeit using new methods and innovative techniques. The Prime Minister praised Ismail Bhai for using drip irrigation to cultivate high quality potatoes and turning them into a hallmark. Ismail Bhai directly sells these potatoes to large companies, and earns handsome profits as there are no middlemen.



    The Prime Minister emphasized that innovation is required in agriculture. He talked of Bijay Shanti of Manipur who is in the news for her new innovation. She launched a start-up to develop thread from the Lotus stem. Mr Modi said her efforts and innovations have opened new avenues in the fields of lotus farming and textile.



    The Prime Minister talked at length about the art of storytelling, and how it has always been a part of Indian culture. In every family, some elderly person used to tell stories to the younger generation, and fill the house with new inspiration and energy. He highlighted the importance of telling stories with moral lessons, saying -‘Where there is a soul there is a story’. Mr Modi expressed pride that India has the tradition of Hitopadesh and Panchatantra in which lessons on prudence and wisdom are imparted through an imaginary world of animals, birds and fairies woven into stories. He noted that India has a tradition of ‘katha’.



    He said there is a very interesting style of storytelling in Tamilnadu and Kerala called ‘Villu paattu’. It comprises a fascinating confluence of story and music. He added that India also has had a vibrant tradition of puppetry. Mr Modi said stories and storytelling based on science and science- fiction are gaining popularity these days.

    The Prime Minister spoke about ‘Gathastory.in, run by Amar Vyas, along with other colleagues. Amar Vyas completed his MBA from IIM Ahmedabad and went abroad. Presently, Mr Vyas lives in Bengaluru and is furthering the art of storytelling. Mr Modi said there are many endeavours that are popularising stories from rural India. He gave the example of Vaishali Vyawahare Deshpande who is making it popular in Marathi. He mentioned Srividya Veer Raghavan of Chennai who is engaged in popularizing and disseminating stories related to country and culture. Mr Modi praised two websites- Kathalaya and The Indian Story Telling Network for their commendable work. He said Geeta Ramanujan has focussed on stories at kathalaya.org, whereas a network of story tellers from various cities is being created through the Indian Storytelling Network. Mr Modi also mentioned Vikram Sridhar in Bengaluru, who is very enthusiastic about stories related to Bapu. Prime Minister Modi spoke to Aparna Athreya, from Bengaluru Storytelling Society and other members to know their experiences. He said he will upload the entire conversation in the Narendra Modi App and asked listeners to listen to the conversation. He urged people to have storytelling sessions every week in their families. He also urged people to introduce the new generation with the nations freedom struggle and brave freedom fighters through stories.
     
    The Prime Minister shared the heart warming story of Sedu Dambele from the distant land of Mali. Sedu Dembele is a teacher in a public school in Kita, and teaches English, Music, Painting, and drawing. Mr Modi said he is also called Hindustani’s Babu, as he has great love for India. Every Sunday afternoon, Sedu Dembele presents an hour long radio program in Mali titled ‘Indian frequency on Bollywood songs!’ He has been presenting it for the last 23 years. During the course of this program, he renders his commentary in French as well as in Mali’s lingua franca known as Bombara. Mr Modi said another reason for his profound association with India is that he too was born on the 15th of August. Seduji has started another two-hour program now at 9 pm every Sunday, in which he narrates the story of an entire Bollywood film in French and Bombara. On 15th August this year , through a video in Hindi, he greeted the people of India on Independence Day. His children sing the national anthem of India with great ease. The Prime Minister urged people to watch these videos and feel their love for India.
     
    Mr Modi remembered freedom fighter Bhagat Singh whose birth anniversary will be celebrated tomorrow on the 28th of September. He said Bhagat Singh is an icon of courage and valor. He said it is unimaginable that the British government was frightened of a 23-year-old man. He added that in the coming days, nation will remember many great personalities who have made an indelible contribution in the making of India.
     

    Prime Minister Modi said the second of October is a holy and inspiring day for all. We remember Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri on this day. Mr Modi said if the country would have been able to grasp the spirit behind economic principles of Mahatma Gandhi, the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan would not have been needed today. He said Gandhiji’s economic vision understood the pulse of the country. He said Bapu’s life reminds people to ensure that all actions should be such that it leads to the well being of the poor and deprived.

     
    The Prime Minister also remembered Bharat Ratna Loknayak Jai Prakash whose birth anniversary falls on the 11th of October. He said Jai Prakash ji has played a leading role in protecting India’s democratic values. He also remembered Bharat Ratna Nanaji Deshmukh whose birth anniversary also falls on the 11 th of October. The Prime Minister urged people to imbibe the values enshrined by them.

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