Former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam lauds Gujarat’s initiatives towards enhancing agriculture growth
Entire India achieved only 3% growth, how is Gujarat able to attain 9% asks Dr. Kalam
Gujarat’s agriculture turnaround an eye opener for the entire nation: Dr. Kalam
State’s agriculture growth a product of Shri Narendra Modi’s vision backed by innovation and determined execution
Gujarat’s initiatives towards enhancing agricultural growth received the praise of none other than former President of India and one of the most respected public figures in the country Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Speaking on the 84th Foundation Day of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAI), Dr. Kalam praised the state for its strides in agriculture growth.
"The entire India has achieved only over 3 per cent growth rate in agriculture production. How Gujarat is able to attain 9 per cent growth rate?" the former President said during his speech. Dr. Kalam affirmed that Gujarat’s agriculture turnaround is nothing but “an eye opener for the entire nation.”
Dr. Kalam noted the adverse factors that Gujarat faced ranging from depletion of water table, deterioration of soil and water conditions, irregular rainfall and drought condition. But, he said that despite these factors Gujarat transformed itself not only to achieve 9% growth in agriculture but also to sustain it for 7 years.
In his speech Dr. Kalam also stressed on the need to incorporate technology into small and marginal landholders who are 50% of the agro work force in India. Union Agriculture Minister Shri Sharad Pawar attended the function.
This is not the first time Dr. Kalam has applauded Gujarat’s agriculture growth that has set in over the last decade. In December 2010, he had spoken about the need to emulate Gujarat’s agriculture success. Similarly in February 2011, at a function at Basti in UP he acknowledged the giant strides by Gujarat in agriculture. Dr. Kalam has always been a great friend and well-wisher of Gujarat. It was in his august presence that Gujarat kicked off the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda in January this year and it was Dr. Kalam who released Shri Narendra Modi’s book ‘Convenient Action.’
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Gujarat’s agriculture success is firmly rooted in Shri Narendra Modi’s vision for all round, inclusive development of the state. It is due to his efforts that Gujarat is all set to take the lead in India’s second green revolution.
Right from the beginning, Shri Modi gave all round emphasis towards strengthening agriculture growth. Through the Jyotigram Yojana launched in 2006, Shri Modi ensured that the power needs of the farmers were addressed. But, thinking a step ahead Shri Modi did not stop at merely addressing the power needs of the farmers. Gujarat put great emphasis on water conservation and innovative methods of irrigation that can enhance agriculture growth. The fruits of these results can be illustrated by the fact that Gujarat’s water table has risen from 3m to 13m over the last decade. In a big relief to the farmers the Gujarat Budget of 2012-2013 removed ‘Dark Zone’ status of 57 talukas. Furthermore, Gujarat has also been a pioneer of embracing drip irrigation methods for agriculture productivity. From 10,000 hectares of land under drip irrigation a decade ago, today 5 lakh hectares of land are under drip irrigation.
Another bulwark against a drop in agriculture productivity has been the annual Krishi Mahotsav campaigns. Started 8 years ago Krishi Mahotsavs aim towards brining a qualitative difference in the lives of the farmers. This year Krishi Mahotsav received a tremendous response with the highlight of the day being inspiring words by Shri Modi to lakhs of farmers via videoconference. Everyday, he spoke on a different theme ranging from Gujarat’s cotton production, Gujarat’s success in the ‘White Revolution’ to how using latest technology can benefit the farmers. The Krishi Mahotsav is one initiative that is extremely close to Shri Modi’s heart.
On the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, Gujarat dedicated to the nation India’s first canal top solar power project on the Narmada Canal. Such an initiative has the potential to not only increase power production but also to converse a crore litres of water and save tracts of land, things that would benefit Gujarat’s farmer above anyone else. Shri Modi termed it as the ‘innovative merger of Jal Shakti with Urja Shakti’.
Not only this, when it comes to speaking up for the welfare of farmers it is Shri Modi who has been at the forefront. In the last few months the Chief Minister has written strongly worded letters opposing the anti-farmer cotton export ban and the Centre’s flawed meat export policy that was encouraging a ‘pink revolution’ or sorts.
Gujarat’s agriculture success story is a product of determined efforts over the last decade that has given important to innovation as well as execution. It is indeed commendable that Gujarat has overcome various limitations to reach this consistent rate of success and with the blessings of revered public figures such as Dr. Kalam, the growth will surely scale newer heights in the years to come.