Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday said farmers are the backbone of a rising India and also credited industry with driving the agriculture sector into a “new trajectory”. “Bharat is on the rise as never before. It is a global recognition. And in this rise, farmers are the backbone,” he said in his inaugural address at the 15th edition of the agriculture and food technology fair organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Chandigarh..
The vice president said the commitment of the industry to drive the agriculture sector on a novel trajectory is commendable, welcome and needs to be taken to higher stages of execution.
Calling the theme of the fair — Digital Transformation for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security — an apt one, he said its relevance can never be over emphasised. “It is the farmer who needs to be well informed so that he adopts economically sustainable measures,” he said.
Dhankhar also lauded the central dispensation over its contribution in feeding 80 crore people for free in the last two years, a reference to the Union government’s efforts to tackle COVID-19 situation.”… we have no parallel in the entire world where for over two years, 80 crore people have been fed by the government free. And that exercise continues to this day,” he said, adding that the credit also goes to the Indian farmers. For us, agriculture is not a profession, it is a tradition and a way of life, he asserted.
“And for our economy, which is on the rise, it was only few weeks ago we had the distinction of overtaking our colonial rulers by becoming the fifth largest economy in the world,” he said.
The vice president further said that by the turn of the decade, India shall be the third largest economy and a major role in this growth is played by agriculture. He said agriculture directly employs more than one-third of our population, contributes nearly one-fifth of our GDP and ensures food security for 1.4 billion people, and yet makes available surplus to be sent to areas in need.
“In addition to that, and something which is more qualitative, agriculture makes available critical raw material for our industries,” he added.
Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya and Punjab Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal were also present on the occasion.
More than 30,000 farmers are expected to visit the fair, officials said.