At the start of his speech, Shri Narendra Modi paid tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He affirmed, “Sardar Patel was not only a proud son of Gujarat but also a pillar of unity who undertook great efforts to unify the nation.” Shri Modi shared that as a tribute to Sardar Patel, the Gujarat Government is building the Statue of Unity, which will be among the largest statues in the world.
In an appeal to the farmers, Shri Modi stated, “(To build this Statue of Unity) I need your help, I need the help of farmers. I am talking about this idea you for the first time in public. You may think Modi is asking for money but no, I am asking for emotional attachment. An attachment that will last for years.” He added, “I expect something from you. Sardar Patel was Loh Purush (Iron Man) and I want iron pieces from your villages. But we do not want any piece of iron, we want iron pieces (tools) used by farmers during farming. From 31st October, which is Sardar Jayanti, till 26th January we will go to the villages and collect iron blocks. And we need your help in this. We need iron to commemorate the iron man and that too iron used in farming, because after all Sardar Patel was the son of a farmer.” Shri Modi also showed a short film on the subject.
Talking about the reason for organizing an all-India conference such as this the Chief Minister said, “We have called so many experts here so that we can learn from you, your experiences and what you did in various fields including agriculture and rural development. We will discuss things and in the end several new things will come out, exchange of ideas will happen and best practices will be shared.” Shri Modi expressed confidence that a conference such as this will give new direction to what the Government can do for farmers and agriculture.
Shri Modi stressed on the importance of productivity in the present circumstances when the population is increasing and the amount of land with an individual is decreasing. He further said that productivity must be increased through scientific methods with latest technology. Talking about the animal husbandry sector Shri Modi opined that Gujarat already has a good network of cooperatives and dairy but pointed that only increasing the population of animals will not help. “The need is to increase productivity. In an animal is giving 2 litres of milk everyday, how can we make it 3, 4, 5 or 6 litres? And how can we do it scientifically?” he asked.
The Chief Minister affirmed that we must have complete faith in the path that we have embraced. Taking on the recent remarks by a Congress leader that Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of Gram Rajya was unrealistic in the modern age, Shri Modi said, “I was shocked when someone associated with the Government of India said this. If this is how they think then they have not been able to understand India. And if they are in decision making, I wonder what will happen to the villages?” The Chief Minster went on to say, “I can say this with conviction- that Mahatma Gandhi’s economic ideas are as relevant today as they were and we must be sure of this. If we see what Gandhi ji said on rural economy then we will not need to look for different paths of progress for decades. But then, those who do not have faith in themselves, how can they give faith to others?” He further opined that in a time when the world is reeling under global warming, we could find all our answers in what Gandhi ji said. Shri Modi avowed, “Gandhi ji never opposed science or change. That is why the great man gave a way for rural development, which is as relevant even today but the precondition is we must have faith in ourselves.”
Shri Modi elaborately spoke about the efforts of the Gujarat Government in areas of animal husbandry. He said that the state Government has taken up a challenge to provide health cards for animals. He talked about the Pashu Arogya Melas of the Gujarat Government and remarked, “Many Melas have been held earlier in India too but they were held with the aim of votebank politics. We serve those who never even get to vote. Do animals have a right to vote? But then if we need to bring change we need to serve animals too!”
Talking about the initiatives to provide treatment to the animals, the Chief Minister stated that the Government decided to ensure that no animal has to walk more than 3 kms to receive treatment. He also shared that the Gujarat Government sent doctors to USA for training in treating animals. He went on to state, “We tried to ensure operations of animals with laser technology so that no drop of blood comes. In Gujarat there is cataract operation for cattle as well. We also provide dental treatment for our animals and have purchased equipment for the same. We noticed that many animals have a problem in walking and they need orthopedic treatment. This time we gave orthopedic treatment during Pashu Arogya Melas.” He shared that 122 animal diseases have been eradicated in Gujarat.
Likewise, the Chief Minister also spoke on Gujarat’s success in milk production. He shared that milk production in Gujarat grew by about 65% and that while the rate of growth for the nation in this sector was 5%, the rate in Gujarat was 7%, which is a commendable figure. He credited the farmers with this success. He added that the Government has made a rule that the payment for the dairy sector would be made to the women and not the men of the family. “These small steps have been taken to bring about change in the villages,” the Chief Minister opined.
The Chief Minister also mooted the idea of having 4-6 zones as grassland zones which can be of help during the time of drought or when the natural conditions become adverse for farmers. He said that the Government has thought of making the areas next to the Narmada canal into grasslands, which can help during times of scanty monsoon. Shri Modi stressed on enhancement of human resource development potential. Shri Modi talked about the upcoming Agro Tech Fair in Gujarat and shared that while the Government was considering holding this fair in early 2014, they will now hold the fair towards the end of 2013 itself.
Apart from Shri Modi, Gujarat’s Agriculture Minister Shri Babubhai Bokhiria spoke on the occasion. Bihar’s Minister Shri Giriraj Singh praised Gujarat’s development and made valuable points on agriculture growth.