Home / Politics / Policy /  Narendra Modi says rural spending will drive Indian economy

New Delhi: Indian economy cannot progress without better farm incomes and higher rural spending, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a gathering of farmers, scientists and officials on Saturday.

Centre and states together with farmers must strive to double farm incomes by 2022- the 75th year of India’s independence- and this year’s budget has initiated this journey, Modi said. He added that schemes for restoring soil health, irrigation, electronic marketing and crop insurance will fulfil this dream.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the inauguration of Krishi Unnati Mela at Pusa, Delhi, which showcases new technology, seeds and livestock breeds to farmers.

During the event Modi also launched a new Kisan Suvidha mobile app that will provide farmers with crop advisories, weather alerts and information on market prices.

The challenge for farmers is slower adoption of new technology, Modi further said, adding, farmers will have to diversify into animal husbandry and timber production as a risk mitigation measure.

“Farmers need to gear up for value addition of their produce through food processing and focus on organic farming to get better prices," Modi said.

He further said the government has initiated several steps like neem coating of urea to prevent misuse of the subsidised fertiliser and a new crop insurance scheme that will cut down delays in payouts.

The prime minister also awarded states and progressive farmers during the event. While Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Haryana, Rajasthan and Meghalaya received the Krishi Karman award for food crop production, Chhattisgarh was awarded for production of pulses, Tamil Nadu for coarse cereals and West Bengal for oilseeds.

After two back to back drought in 2014 and 2015, the Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance government has placed a renewed focus on the farm sector. Towards this, the union budget presented last month allocated more funds towards irrigation.

The centre also launched a new crop insurance scheme Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana earlier this year with an aim to increase coverage from 23% of farmers to half of all farmers in the next three years.

Further, in April the government will launch an electronic platform for marketing of farm produce that will connect registered mandis (markets) across the country. The government hopes this will help farmers get better prices for their produce.

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