Business Standard

PM: Urgent need to make farmers market-ready

- VIRENDRA SINGH RAWAT Lucknow, 19 February

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched over 14,000 private investment projects, valued at ~10 trillion, in Lucknow. He also emphasised the necessity of connecting agricultur­e with markets to bolster the rural economy. Modi underscore­d the urgency of making farmers — particular­ly small-scale ones — “market-ready” and promoting farmer producer organisati­ons (FPOS) for value addition to agricultur­e.

His remarks are particular­ly significan­t given the ongoing protests by Punjab farmers, who are demanding a law guaranteei­ng the minimum support price (MSP) mechanism.

“I suggest market players partner with farmers for mutual benefits,” said the PM, while addressing industrial­ists and investors on the occasion of the ground-breaking ceremony 4.0 (GBC 4.0). Leading investors in GBC 4.0 include Hiranandan­i group, Torrent Power, Greenko group, INGKA, House of Abhinandan Lodha, Sharaf group, Ashok Leyland, ACME, JSW Energy, Tata Technologi­es Limited, and Varun Beverages. The GBC 4.0 is the follow-up to the UP Global Investors Summit (GIS) held in February 2023, when the state garnered more than 25,000 investment intents to the tune of ~40 trillion

The GBC 4.0 included projects related to housing, renewable energy, manufactur­ing, IT and It-enabled services, logistics and warehousin­g, food processing, electronic­s manufactur­ing, education, and others. Modi said investors should come forward to ensure that ‘Made in India’ food packets reach the dining table in every country. “This is the right time for investment to help farmers in the packaging of their farm output and value addition, so that the produce reaches the internatio­nal market,” the prime minister said. He emphasised the focus on natural farming and millets. “This is the right time for investment in superfoods like millets,” he said.

Modi also touched upon the conferring of the Bharat Ratna on the late Chaudhary Charan Singh, a venerated farmers’ leader and former prime minister, and the ensuing uproar from Opposition parties, particular­ly the Congress. “Honouring Chaudhary Saheb, the son of the soil of Uttar Pradesh, is an honour for crores of farmers and labourers of the country. But unfortunat­ely, the Congress and its allies do not understand this,” he said.

Meanwhile, the launch of the projects is expected to generate nearly 3.4 million jobs in Uttar Pradesh across different sectors. The majority of the projects — about 52 per cent — are located in Western UP, followed by 29 per cent in Purvanchal (Eastern UP), 14 per cent in Madhyancha­l (Central UP), and 5 per cent in Bundelkhan­d. “UP is determined to become a $1 trillion economy and I would urge other states to learn from UP and follow the same developmen­t template,” Modi added. He recalled that 7-8 years ago, UP was notorious for its crime rate and riots, and the prospect of investment and industrial growth seemed bleak. “In the past 7 years, with the help of the ‘double engine’ government, UP has witnessed robust growth of its trade and industry,” he said. Referring to his recent visit to the UAE and Qatar, Modi claimed that India has generated an unpreceden­ted level of positivity among foreign nations. “The world community is sanguine about the India growth story,” he said, adding that today ‘Modi’s guarantee’ is the buzzword all around owing to its assured delivery of people’s welfare scheme.

He defined real secularism as providing equal opportunit­ies to all without discrimina­tion and ensuring that government schemes benefit the poor and deprived sections of society.

“IT HAS BEEN SEVEN YEARS SINCE THE DOUBLE-ENGINE GOVERNMENT WAS FORMED IN UP.INTHESEYEA­RS, UP HAS REMOVED THE RED TAPE CULTURE AND REPLACED IT WITH RED CARPET CULTURE” NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister

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