India can prosper only if farmers do: Rajnath Singh

New Delhi, Oct 6 (IANS) Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here on Tuesday said “India can prosper only if the farmers do”.

“If we want to make India prosper, the farmers need to prosper. India cannot prosper until the farmers do. We have to improve the conditions of the farmers, they should get the right price for their produce,” said Singh while speaking during the function to mark the 80th birth anniversary of late farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait.

Minister of state for Agriculture, Food Processing and Industries Sanjeev Balyan was also present on the occasion.

“I had a close relation with Chaudhury saab,” Singh said.

Recalling his relationship with Tikait, the home minister mentioned about an anecdote when Tikait opted to visit Singh’s official residence in Lucknow when he was the Uttar Pradesh chief minister…Though Tikait was accompanying about 1,000 farmers to raise their concerns, Singh said, he opted to go out of his house to welcome him personally instead of letting the security personnel stop him.

Reassuring the farmers not to feel weakened, Singh said: “… I am also a farmer’s son. I can feel their problems. Several times due to drought and floods, the crops get damaged. I can understand what kind of difficulties they have to face.

“… we cannot strengthen the farmers only through agriculture… it is necessary that in every farmer’s family at least one member should develop expertise in other skills. Only then we can strengthen the farmers of our country.

“It could also be agriculture-related skills. Only then their condition will improve,” he added.

“Chaudhury Mahendra Singh ji’s name should be counted among the other farmers leaders in the country like Chaudhury Charan Singh, Chaudhury Devi Lal and Chaudhury Chhotu Ramji,” he said.

“We have stalled the Land Acquisition bill for now keeping in mind the interest of the farmers. The process of discussion on the matter must go on with the farmers. If we proceed with the bill, it will be done only after taking the farmers into confidence.”

On the issue of Rs.6,000 crore interest-free loan to sugar mills so that they can clear cane arrears to the cane farmers, he said: “I have been told that this has not been implemented properly. We’ll do something to resolve the problem.”

Tikait’s sons Naresh Tikait and Rakesh Tikait were also present at the function.

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