Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appealed to farmers to produce more food grains to enable the government to implement the proposed Right to Food Act, apart from tackling price rise.
Singh delivered his eighth successive Independence Day speech on Monday from the Red Fort ramparts. He praised farmers for the record food grain production of 241.56 million tonne in 2010-11, which included wheat, maize, pulses and oilseeds.
“We need a second Green Revolution in agriculture. By increasing agricultural production, we can tackle the problem of rising food prices and we can also implement a food security law,” said Singh. The government will incorporate this initiative in the twelfth five-year plan, he added.
For their efforts, the Prime Minister assured the farming community — especially marginal and small farmers — easy access to fertilisers, seeds and credit facilities.
“We want to provide the best possible irrigation facilities so that farmers’ dependence on rainfall is reduced and they can produce more,” he said.
Despite an all-time high production of food grains, food inflation is at 9.9% - an alarming rate for households.
The Prime Minister also mentioned the land acquisition bill, a draft of which is under debate now.
“I am aware of the tension caused in some parts of the country because of land acquisition… Our farmers are affected,” Singh said.
Last week, four persons were killed on Pune-Mumbai Expressway after police fired on farmers, who were opposing land acquisition. The large-scale protest was against a pipeline project, which they feared would divert their water and force them to give up land.
“We will ensure no injustice is done to anyone in acquiring land,” said Singh. However, he also said “land acquisition is necessary for projects of public interest”.
Touching upon the UPA government’s aam admi schemes such as Rashtirya Swasthya Bima Yojana, a health insurance programme that covers 2.5 crore unorganised sector workers, Singh said priority will be given to health issues in the twelfth plan, which is under preparation.
“This plan is specifically focussed on health issues. I promise that funds won’t be a constraint in important areas of education and health,” he added.