Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu while stressing on the need to make agriculture remunerative again, enveloped his speech here on Tuesday by upholding what constituted good Indian values and a veiled criticism of the prevailing situation in the country.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the golden jubilee celebrations of Assam Agricultural University here, Naidu praised the University for being a guiding force in the region for five decades and asked it work together with other stakeholders to make agriculture an attractive and economical occupation so that the youth are drawn back to it.
“The rural urban divide is not a good thing. It is seen that a doctor would like his son to be a doctor, an IPS officer wants his son to be an IPS officer and so on but a farmer in India does not want his son to be a farmer as it is not lucrative. This has to be corrected and all stake holders including the University, the Centre and state should find a way to make farming attractive so that they do not make their way to towns and cities looking for white collar jobs,” Naidu said.
He further asked the scientists and students to work with the farmers in the fields and experience first-hand the challenges and problems and for the University to make a provision in the curriculum for this.
He further stressed on building Infrastructure development in the villages: rural roads, warehousing, cold storages, electricity, hospitals, etc.
Referring to food security he said that India was marching ahead slowly in agriculture with only a five per cent growth.
“We have to make this rapid in order become self-sufficient and to feed the burgeoning populations all over the world. Farmers are the ones who grow food and it was seen that that India lagged in the production of oil seeds and pulses which has to be made up, “he said.
Naidu said that farmers in Assam needed to diversify their crops and take to poultry and dairy, horticulture and floriculture as the land was full of natural resources, trees, rivers, greenery, fresh air and fertility.
He further enumerated the crops in which Assam was deficit in including rice and wheat among others and asked the University to create a strategy for individual farmers taking into cognizance soil health, water availability and other parameters to grow their crops.
The vice president asked the gathering to speak only in their mother tongue and to speak English outside their homes, comparing the former to eyes and the latter to spectacles.
“Without eyes one cannot have sight, foresight or vision,” he said.
Naidu expressed his concern over attacks on women and lower castes in recent times, stating that this was a problem of mind-set of some people which needed to be changed.