PM pitches for ‘digital villages’ for ‘New India’

With an aim to develop the rural sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for creating a digital village. He mentioned that it was important to ensure the empowerment of the farmers in order to realize the dream of New India. He said that even if a minimum of 500 villages could be made ‘less cash’ per year, it will eventually create a chain reaction which will easily spread across the thousands of villages in the country. He also laid emphasis on the need for the growth of livestock sector as well as skill training for women. The Prime Minister mentioned that empowering farmers in a village is essential for the balanced development of the nation.

Without an empowered farmer, the dream of ‘New India’ cannot be fulfilled. He addressed the Golden Jubilee and Foundation Day celebrations of Pune-based Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation via video conferencing. Talking about digital villages, he said the government strives to connect all the Panchayats through optical fibre. He also emphasized the role of NGOs in empowering villages in terms of the use of technology. With the use of technology, the dream of digital village can be realized. Villages, if linked to digital technology will allow filing of forms online, health services could be easily accessible and studies in school can be conducted digitally.

He also called for a revolution in the honeybee, fishery and water sectors in order to boost farm income while saying that the government’s policy is focusing on reducing the input cost. With an aim of doubling the farmers’ income by 2022, the focus of agri policies has been shifted from production centric to income centric. Further highlighting the steps taken in the Agri sector, Modi said the government is encouraging organic farming and crop diversification while it has distributed over 9 crore soil health cards and linked over 500 mandis with e-NAM (electronic national agriculture market).

The government has recently announced incentives for the farmers which addresses the storage problem and provides cheaper loans to save them from private money lenders. Regards livestock sector, Modi said Rs.40, 000 crore are lost due to animal diseases and spoke about organizing more livestock health camps to address the issue. He also talked about the potential of aromatic farms and medicinal plants which rise in global demand. He mentioned the important role of women in farming and how they should be taught about looking after the livestock through the Women Self Help Groups across villages.

Further, he spoke about water revolution, emphasizing the need for using technology to ensure more crop per drop. The Government is trying to address the issues faced by farmers in several parts of the country due to the scarcity of water. Modi mentioned that the government has completed 21 projects our of 99 pending irrigation projects. The Government is spending 60% of MNREGA funds for the purpose of water conservation. He hopes to encourage farmers towards the sub sectors of agriculture in order to boost their income. With an aim to revolutionize the villages with technology, he mentioned the importance of digitalization in the country and how it can benefit all the segments of the villages.

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