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New Delhi: The Centre is overhauling farming in India not in a piecemeal way but in an integrated manner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his Independence Day speech on Monday. Elaborating on the efforts of the government, Modi said his government has focused on soil health, improving access to irrigation and providing an improved crop insurance scheme that covers the entire gamut of risks at minimum premiums.

“Now farmers are aware of soil health and know which crops to grow and cost of cultivation is going down," Modi said, adding, “We have fast tracked pending irrigation projects and emphasized on micro-irrigation and water use efficiency. We have provided 77,000 solar pumps to farmers to reduce costs."

Referring to the crippling drought in the past two years (2014 and 2015), Modi congratulated farmers for rising up to the occasion and meeting crop production targets. “This year, the monsoons are good and farmers have come forward to plant more pulses to meet rising demand," Modi said. “Due to bonuses and better support prices, farmers have increased area under pulses by 1.5 times."

Also Read: PM Modi’s Independence Day speech focuses on social harmony

“Despite the drought, our government has not let inflation cross 6% compared to over 10% inflation in the past government. The impact of drought was felt most in rising vegetable and pulse prices, but our government will work hard to check food inflation," Modi said.

Elaborating on his government’s other focus areas for the farm sector, Modi said value addition is one way to improve incomes and the Centre has allowed 100% foreign direct investment in food processing to encourage investment. “It is our goal to double farmer income by 2022," Modi said.

The Prime Minister further said that the government has settled recurring problems like dues to sugarcane farmers, increasing availability of subsidized fertilisers like urea and introduced improved seed varieties.

“We have initiated electronic marketing in agriculture to improve incomes... this will enable farmers to sell anywhere in India and not be limited to 10 km radius of villages," Modi said.

Also Read: Narendra Modi rakes up human rights situation in Balochistan, PoK

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