All the esteemed dignitaries present here. First of all, I express my condolences on the tragic incident that took place at the Mata Vaishno Devi premises. My sympathies are with those who have lost loved ones and those who have been injured in the stampede. The Central Government is in constant touch with the administration of Jammu and Kashmir. I have also spoken to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha ji. Full attention is being paid to the relief work and treatment of the injured.
Brothers and sisters,
Joining us in this program are my Union Cabinet colleagues, Chief Ministers of different states, Agriculture Ministers of the states, other dignitaries and my millions of farmer brothers and sisters from all over the country. Happy New Year 2022 to Indians living in India and abroad, every well-wisher of India and the world community!
These are moments of great inspiration for me that I got the privilege of meeting crores of farmers from across the country at the beginning of the year. Today, crores of farmer families of the country, especially small farmers, have received the 10th installment of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. Rs 20,000 crore has been transferred to the bank accounts of farmers. Today, financial assistance has also been sent to the farmers associated with our Farmers’ Producer Organizations (FPOs). Hundreds of FPOs are making a fresh start today.
There is a saying in our country: ''आमुखायाति कल्याणं कार्यसिद्धिं हि शंसति''
That is, a successful start is the harbinger of the accomplishment of work, the accomplishment of resolutions in advance. As a nation, we can see the past year of 2021 in the same way. We are all witnesses of the collective strength of millions of Indians fighting the biggest pandemic in 2021. Today, as we herald the New Year, we have to move towards new resolutions taking inspiration from our efforts of the last year.
This year we will mark 75 years of our independence. This is the time to start a new vibrant journey of resolutions of the country, to move forward with new vigor. In 2021, we Indians have shown the entire world that when we are determined, the biggest goal also gets smaller. Who would have thought that a huge country like India, a country full of diversity, would be able to give 145 crore vaccine doses in such a short time? Who would have thought that India could set a record of administering 2.5 crore vaccine doses in one day? Who would have thought that India could connect two crore households with piped water facilities in a year?
India has been ensuring free rations to its 80 crore citizens for many months in this Corona period. And India has spent more than 2.60 lakh crore rupees on this free rations scheme alone. The villages, the poor, our farmers living in the villages and the farm laborers have got huge benefits from the free grains scheme.
There is also a saying in our country: संघे शक्ति कलौ युगे।
That is, in this era, power comes only from the organization. Organized power, that is, the effort of all is the path to accomplishment of the resolution. When 130 crore Indians take one step forward together, it is not just one step, it is 130 crore steps. It has been our nature that we get a different comfort by doing something good. But when these good-doers come together, a garland of scattered pearls is formed, Mother India becomes radiant. There are so many people who are spending their lives building the country. They used to do these things earlier, but their efforts are being recognized now. The power of every Indian today is being transformed into a collective strength and giving new momentum and new energy to the development of the country. We are filled with joy when we see the names of the people who have been awarded Padma awards these days and their faces. It is due to the efforts of everyone that India is fighting such a big pandemic of Corona.
Brothers and sisters,
During this period of Corona, constant efforts have been made to strengthen the health sector and also expand the health infrastructure. Hundreds of new oxygen plants have been set up and thousands of new ventilators have been added in the country in 2021. In 2021, many new medical colleges were built and work has started on dozens of medical colleges. Thousands of wellness centers have also been built in 2021. The Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission will strengthen the network of good hospitals and testing labs from district to block level. Leveraging Digital India, the Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission will make health facilities in the country more accessible and effective.
Brothers and sisters,
Many economic indicators today are performing better than when Corona was not among us. Today, the growth rate of our economy is more than 8 percent. Record foreign investment has come to India. Our foreign exchange reserves have reached record levels. Old records have also been demolished in GST collections. We have also set new paradigms in terms of exports and especially agriculture.
In keeping with its diversity and vastness, our country is making huge strides in development in every field. In 2021, India transacted around Rs 70 lakh crore with UPI alone, i.e., digital transactions. Today more than 50,000 start-ups are operating in India. Of these, more than 10,000 start-ups were formed in the last six months. In 2021, the youth of India made a new history by creating 42 unicorns even in this period of Corona. I want to tell my farmer brothers and sisters that one unicorn is a start-up worth more than 7,000 crore rupees. Such progress in such a short time is writing a new saga of success for the youth of India today.
Today, while India is strengthening its start-up ecosystem, on the other hand, it is empowering its culture with equal pride. From the Kashi Vishwanath Dham beautification project to the development projects of Kedarnath Dham, from the reconstruction of Adi Shankaracharya's resting place to the repatriation of hundreds of idols stolen from India, including the statue of Mother Annapurna, from the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya to World Heritage status for Dholavira and Durga Puja, India has so much to offer. The entire world is attracted to the country. Now that we are engaged in strengthening our heritage, tourism will definitely grow and so will pilgrimage.
Today, India is taking unprecedented steps for its youth and women. In 2021, India opened its military schools for daughters. In 2021, India also opened the doors of the National Defence Academy for women. In 2021, India also developed efforts to increase the age of marriage of daughters from 18 to 21 years, i.e. equal to that of sons. For the first time in India, about two crore women have got ownership rights of their houses under the PM Awas Yojana. Our farmer brothers and sisters, our village comrades can realize its importance.
In 2021, we have also seen a new confidence in Indian players. Attraction towards sports has increased in India, a new era has begun. Each of us was happy when India won so many medals at the Tokyo Olympics. Every one of us was full of pride when our Divyang athletes made history in the Paralympics. The number of medals won by our Divyang athletes in the last Paralympics was more than the combined tally of medals in the Indian history of the Paralympics. Today India is investing more in its sportspersons and sporting infrastructure than ever before. I am going to lay the foundation stone of another sports university in Meerut tomorrow.
From the UN Security Council to local bodies, India has proved its mettle through its policies and decisions. In 2016, India had set a target of meeting 40 percent of its installed electricity capacity from non-fossil energy sources by 2030. India achieved this target of 2030 in November 2021 itself. Leading the world against climate change, India has also set a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. Today, India is working on a hydrogen mission and taking the lead in electric vehicles. By distributing crores of LED bulbs in the country, the electricity bill totaling 20,000 crore rupees of the poor and middle-class have come down annually. Local bodies in cities across the country are also running a campaign to replace street lights with LEDs. India is also running a massive campaign to turn our farmer brothers from food donors to energy donors. Under the Pradhan Mantri Kusum Yojana, help is also being extended to farmers so that they can generate solar energy by installing solar panels alongside their fields. Millions of farmers have also been given solar pumps by the government. It is also saving money and protecting the environment.
If 2021 will be remembered for the country's strong fight against Corona, then the reforms undertaken during this time will also be discussed. India has accelerated the process of building and reforming modern infrastructure in the last year. It is being empowered with the commitment by minimizing the government interference, enhancing the strength of every Indian and achieving national goals through collective efforts. A number of decisions were also taken last year to make trade and business easier.
The PM GatiShakti National Master Plan will provide a new impetus to the pace of infrastructure construction in the country. Giving new dimensions to Make in India, the country has launched ambitious plans for new sectors like chip manufacturing and semiconductors. Last year alone, the country got seven defence companies for self-reliance in the defence sector. We have also implemented the first progressive drone policy. Giving a new flight to the aspirations of the country in space, the Indian Space Association has been formed.
The Digital India Campaign is playing a major role in taking the development to villages of the country. In 2021, thousands of new villages were connected with optical fiber cable. This has greatly benefited our farmer friends, their families and their children too. A new digital payment solution e-RUPI was also launched in 2021 itself. One Nation, One Ration Card has also been implemented across the country. Today, e-SHRAM cards are being given to workers in the unorganized sector of the country so that the benefits of government schemes can easily reach them.
Brothers and sisters,
In the year 2022, we have to accelerate our pace. There are challenges of Corona, but Corona cannot stop India’s pace. India will fight Corona with utmost vigilance and will also pursue its national interests. It is said in our country:
''जहीहि भीतिम् भज भज शक्तिम्। विधेहि राष्ट्रे तथा अनुरक्तिम्॥
कुरु कुरु सततम् ध्येय-स्मरणम्। सदैव पुरतो निधेहि चरणम्''॥
That is, we have to remember strength and potential, leaving behind fear and apprehensions, and we have to keep the spirit of patriotism paramount. We have to constantly move towards our goals. The constant effort with the essence of 'Nation First' is becoming the spirit of every Indian today. Therefore, there is unity in our efforts and impatience in accomplishing our resolutions. Today there is continuity in our policies and foresight in our decisions. Today's program dedicated to the farmers of the country is an example of this.
The PM Kisan Samman Nidhi has been a great support to the farmers of India. Nobody could imagine earlier that there would be timely installment every time, transfer of thousands of crores of rupees every year without any middleman or commission. If we add today's amount, then more than 1.80 lakh crore rupees have been transferred to the farmers' accounts under the Kisan Samman Nidhi. Today, the Kisan Samman Nidhi is proving very handy for their small expenses. Small farmers are buying good quality seeds, using good manure and equipment from this amount.
Our Farmers’ Producer Organizations (FPOs) have a major role in organizing the growing potential of small farmers of the country. The small farmer who used to be isolated now has five big powers in the form of FPO. The first is better bargaining, that is, bargaining power. You all know what happens when you do the farming in isolation? You buy everything from seeds to fertilizer in retail, but sell in bulk to wholesalers. This leads to higher costs, and lower profits. But the picture is changing through FPOs. Now farmers buy essentials for farming in bulk from FPOs, and sell them in retail.
The other power that farmers have got from FPOs is that of large-scale trade. As an FPO, farmers work in an organized manner, hence the possibilities are great for them. The third strength is innovation. When many farmers come together, they have their combined experiences also. Information grows. New way opens for new innovations. FPO has the fourth power and that is risk management. Together you can assess challenges better and create ways to deal with them.
And the fifth power is the ability to effect changes according to the market. The market and the market demands are constantly changing. But small farmers either do not get the information, or they cannot mobilize resources for transformation. Sometimes all the people sow the same crop and later it is found out that its demand has fallen. But in FPO, you are not only market-ready but also have the power to create demand for new products in the market.
Realizing this power of FPOs, our government is encouraging them at every level. These FPOs are also getting help up to Rs. 15 lakhs. As a result, Organic FPO Clusters, Oil Seed Clusters, Bamboo Clusters and Honey FPO Clusters are growing rapidly in the country today. Today our farmers are taking advantage of schemes like 'One District One Product', and as a result, big markets of the country and abroad are opening for them.
Even today we import so many products, the need for which can be easily met by the farmers of the country. Edible oil is a great example of this. We buy edible oil from abroad. The country has to pay a lot of money to other countries. Therefore, our government has started the National Palm Oil Mission with a budget of 11,000 crore rupees so that our farmers get this money.
In the past few years, the country has achieved many historic milestones in the field of agriculture. Even after the challenges of Corona, all of you took the grain production in the country to a record level through your sheer hard work. Last year, the country's grain production reached 300 million tons. Production in horticulture, floriculture and horticulture cultivation has now reached over 330 million tonnes. Milk production has also increased by about 45 percent compared to the last six-seven years. Not only this, if the farmers are making record productions, then the country is also making record purchases on MSP. We are also promoting Per Drop-More Crop in irrigation. In the past few years, about 60 lakh hectares of land has been connected with micro-irrigation and drip irrigation through the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana.
We have also tried to minimize damages caused to the farmers during natural calamities. The compensation received by the farmers from the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana has reached over one lakh crore rupees. This figure is very important. Farmers across the country paid only around Rs 21,000 crore as a premium, but they got more than Rs one lakh crore as compensation. Brothers and sisters, efforts have been intensified for the farmers to ensure money from all such things, be it crop residues or straw. Hundreds of new units are being set up across the country to make biofuel from agricultural residues. Where the country used to produce less than 40 crore liters of ethanol annually till seven years ago, today it is more than 340 crore liters.
Gobar-Dhan Yojana is running all over the country. Villagers are being encouraged to make biogas from dung. Plants are being set up all over the country to increase the use of biogas. These plants will also produce millions of tons of fine organic manure every year, which will be available to farmers at low prices. When dung will generate revenue, such animals who do not give milk or who have stopped giving milk will not be a burden. Everybody should be useful to the country and no one remains helpless; this too is self-reliance.
A campaign is also underway to ensure that animals are treated at home and artificial insemination is arranged at home. A vaccination mission is also going on for the control of Foot and Mouth Disease in animals. The government has also set up the Kamadhenu Commission and a special fund of thousands of crores of rupees has been created for the infrastructure of the dairy sector. This is our government which has also connected lakhs of pastoralists with the facilities of the Kisan Credit Cards.
The earth is our mother and we have seen that where there was no attempt to save the Mother Earth, the land became barren. There is a great way to save our earth from becoming barren and that is chemical-free farming. Therefore, the country has started another visionary effort last year which is natural farming. Just now, you saw one documentary and I would like to make it available to every farmer by spreading it on social media.
We have learned so much about natural farming from our older generations. This is the right time to organize our traditional knowledge and connect it with modern technology. There is a huge demand for chemical-free grains in the world today, and buyers are willing to pay a much higher price. It has lower cost and better production. Being chemical-free ensures more health benefits for our soil, fertility and health of the consumer. I would urge all of you today to emphasize natural farming and integrate it with your farming.
Brothers and sisters,
This first day of the New Year is the day of new resolutions. These resolutions are going to make the country more capable in the virtuous period of independence. From here we have to resolve to innovate, to do something new. This novelty in agriculture is the demand of the time today. We do not have to hesitate to adopt new crops and new methods. We must also not forget the resolution of cleanliness. We have to ensure that the flame of cleanliness remains ignited at every village and farm. The biggest resolution is of self-reliance and of being vocal for the local. We have to give global recognition to products made in India. For this, it is necessary that we give priority to every product which is made in India.
We need to remember that our actions today will determine the direction of our development journey for the next 25 years. There will be sweat and efforts of every countryman in this journey. I am confident that we will restore India to its glorious identity and take the country to a new height. The transfer of Rs 20,000 crore to the bank accounts of crores of farmers of the country on the first day of the New Year is one such effort.
Happy New Year 2022 to all of you once again!