“It’s an appeal to all to take the vaccine,” PM Narendra Modi said in his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio programme.(PTI)
“It’s an appeal to all to take the vaccine,” PM Narendra Modi said in his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio programme.(PTI)

Modernisation need of hour in farm sector: PM

In his 75th Mann Ki Baat address, Modi urges citizens to take vaccine, follow Covid guidelines and curbs.
By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 29, 2021 02:22 AM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reiterated his government’s call for modernisation of the agriculture sector and said farmers need to “adopt new alternatives along with traditional farming” to boost their incomes, while also appealing to people in his radio address to take Covid-19 vaccine shots amid a surge in infections across the country.

His statement comes two days after thousands of farmers, who have been protesting for months against three new agriculture laws brought by the central government last year, observed a “Bharat Bandh” to mark four months of their agitation.

Addressing the 75th edition of his monthly radio address, Mann Ki Baat, the Prime Minister also spoke about India’s response to the pandemic and urged people to commit to the aim of “dawaai bhi, kadaai bhi”, appealing all to take the coronavirus vaccine at the earliest while maintaining Covid-19 appropriate measures.

On modernisation of agriculture, the Prime Minister asserted that it is the “need of the hour” and said: “Novelty, modernisation is essential in all fields of life, otherwise it becomes a burden at times... It is already late. We have already lost a lot of time. Adopting new alternatives, new innovations, along with traditional farming, are equally important to create new opportunities for employment in the agriculture sector; to increase the income of farmers.”

Watch | ‘Modernisation in agriculture sector need of the hour’: PM Modi

Thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi’s borders since November 26, seeking a repeal of the three farm laws passed enacted in September last year – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

The farmers fear the new laws will dismantle the Minimum Support Price (MSP)-system and corporatise farming, while the government maintains that the new laws are aimed at liberalising the sector and ensuring improved earnings for cultivators. Talks between farm unions and the central government have so far failed to resolve the stalemate despite 12 rounds of meetings.

At a time when the country is in the grip of a second wave of infections, Modi emphasised on the need to follow precautions as the country’s inoculation drive races against time to control the spread of the disease.

“Last year, around this time, the question that was looming was...by when would the corona vaccine come. Friends, it’s a matter of honour for everyone that today, India is running the world’s largest vaccination programme,” Modi said, adding that he was requested several times to discuss the enthusiasm among the elderly for taking vaccines.

“It’s an appeal to all to take the vaccine,” he said.

Also read | Active Covid cases cross half a million

Recalling that a year ago in March, India observed “Janta Curfew” — the precursor to a sweeping nationwide lockdown, Modi said, “Janata curfew had become a bewilderment to the entire world. It was an unprecedented example of discipline; generations to come will certainly feel proud at that.”

The Prime Minister also spoke congratulated Indian cricket player Mithali Raj and shuttler PV Sindhu for their sporting feats. Earlier this month, Raj became the first Indian woman to complete 10,000 runs across all cricketing formats, and Sindhu finished runners-up at the Swiss Open.

The 75th edition of Mann ki baat, the first after phase 1 of assembly elections were held on Saturday, also had several references to the poll-bound states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam.

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