19 September 2021, New Delhi: The Vice President, Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu today called for developing an integrated approach towards rural economy to ensure income security for farmers.
Lauding farmers for not letting the country down even during the trying times of COVID-19 pandemic, he emphasised that our objective should be the overall improvement of rural economy and the well-being of rural society.
Addressing a gathering after releasing five volumes of ‘Sir Chhotu Ram: Writings and Speeches’ brought out by the Haryana Academy of History and Culture in Gurugram today, the Vice President reiterated the need to modernize agriculture and adopt best practices to make it more sustainable and remunerative. ‘Building on our past experiences, we must regularly revisit and renew our strategies on agriculture and rural development and introduce new technologies as part of our efforts to build a self-reliant India,’ he added.
Terming agriculture as our basic culture, he said that our villages not only produce food grains for us but also inculcate in us our Samskaras, our values, and traditions. He also said that agriculture is the backbone of Indian economy and the country cannot progress if our villages remain underdeveloped and backward.
Observing that the entire agri-chain from farm to fork offers tremendous opportunities for remunerative value addition, Mr. Naidu called for unshackling this latent potential of the rural economy. He further said that improving the quality of life in rural areas would be our true tribute to revolutionary visionaries like Sir Chhotu Ram.
Complimenting Haryana Academy of History and Culture and all researchers associated with the project, the Vice President said that these five volumes on Sir Chhotu Ram would provide meaningful insights into the agrarian economy and political dynamics of the region during the eventful years of our freedom movement. Mr. Naidu also suggested that copies of this valuable publication should be available in public libraries and Panchayat Ghar so that the people could read and learn about the life and work of the great leader.
The Vice President further said that many of our freedom fighters did not get the recognition they so richly deserved and called for making efforts to spread awareness among the present generations about their life and work.
Observing that the independence movement was not just a political movement, he said, it rather had a deep social and economic reformist agenda as well. He praised many a contribution of Sir Chhotu Ram for the cause of nation building. ‘He worked tirelessly to bring reforms in the agriculture sector and to free farmers from the exploitation of moneylenders,’ Mr. Naidu added.
Mentioning that Sir Chhotu Ram was the first person to visualise the Bhakhra Nagal dam on Sutlej river, the Vice President said that being a farmer’s son he had deep understating of the farmers’ problems and always strived to find solutions for them. He also praised the legendary leader for his bold initiatives in the field of social reform and education.
Recalling Sir Chhotu Ram’s strong opposition to the partition of the country, the Vice President said that he was a true nationalist who dreamt of a united and strong India. Calling Sir Chhotu Ram as a man of renaissance, Mr. Naidu said that he ushered in new ideas in polity, society and rural economy. He further said that our younger generation should take inspiration from great personalities like Chaudhary Chotu Ram ji, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Ji, Ram Manohar Lohia Ji and Chaudhary Charan Singh Ji and strive to build an Atma Nirbhar Bharat.
Complimenting former Union Minister, Chaudhari Birendra Singh for endeavouring to popularise the legacy of Sir Chhotu Ram, Mr. Naidu urged all state governments to prepare similar compilations on prominent leaders from their respective states. He exhorted the youth “to read books on great leaders such as Chotu Ram, visit historical places such as their birthplaces and draw inspiration from their lives.”
The Chief Minister of Haryana, Mr. Manohar Lal, former Union Minister, Chaudhary Birender Singh, former Chief Minister of Haryana, Mr. Om Prakash Chautala, former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Mr. Vijay Bahuguna, Principal Secretary, Art & Cultural Affairs, Haryana, Mr. D Suresh, Director, Haryana Academy of History and Culture, Prof. Raghuvendra Tanwar and several sitting and former MPs and people’s representatives were among those who attended the event.
Following is the full text of speech –
As you all are aware, agriculture is our basic culture.
As you all are aware, agriculture has traditionally been the backbone of our economy. It has been the endeavor of every government to improve the living conditions of our farmers and provide remunerative prices to various crops. Our villages not only produce food grains for us but also inculcate in us our Samskaras, our values, and traditions. If the villages remain underdeveloped and backward, the momentum of the country’s progress will be affected.
It is absolutely important to modernize agriculture and adopt best practices to make it more sustainable and remunerative. Building on our past experiences, we must regularly revisit and renew our strategies on agriculture and rural development and introduce new technologies as part of our efforts to build a self-reliant India.
Our objective should be the overall well-being of rural society. We need to develop an integrated approach toward the rural economy to ensure income security for our farmers. Not only the agricultural produce but the entire value chain from Farm to Fork opens up new opportunities for remunerative value addition. We have to unshackle this latent potential of our rural economy.
No doubt, the Union government, and various state governments have been taking steps to increase farmers’ income. We must certainly do more. Our farmers have never let the country down. Even at the height of the pandemic, they have ensured a record production of food grains.
Farmers’ welfare should be uppermost priority. Agriculture has to be made viable and profitable. Many steps were taken and many more need to be taken.
Doubling the farmers’ income as rightfully emphasized by the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Bhai Modi should be our endeavor. Along with this, the quality of life of people in rural areas should be improved. That will be our true tribute to revolutionary visionaries like Sir Chotu Ram.
The Chief Justice of India had recently spoken on the need to change colonial laws. I fully agree with him as many of the laws are outdated and out of sync with the present times. Not only laws, we need to do away with other relics of colonial rule like donning robes for University Convocations and the way some of us address our elders. I have introduced changes in the Rajya Sabha, regarding placing of reports, making of mentions and also in promoting the use of mother tongue by the members. I hope the same things will happen in all wings of administration and judiciary. This is the need of the hour and should be part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat. We should take inspiration from great leaders like Chotu Ram ji, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Ji, Ram Manohar Lohia Ji , Chaudhary Charan Singh Ji and others.
I once again compliment all the researchers associated with this project and the publishers, for bringing out these five volumes. These volumes provide considerable material for further research on the agrarian economy and political dynamics of this region during those eventful years of our freedom movement.
I compliment Chaudhari Birendra Singh ji, Former Union Minister and Grand son of Mr. Chhotu Ram for his efforts in popularising the legacy of the illustrious leader.
I call upon the youngsters to read books on great leaders such as Chhotu Ram, visit historical places such as their birthplaces and draw inspiration from their lives.
I would urge all state governments to prepare similar compilations of works on prominent leaders from their respective states. With these words, I am pleased to release these Volumes.