Patil calls for farm-corporate tie-up for Green Revolution

Mumbai, Oct 28 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil Thursday stressed the need to explore a partnership between agriculture and corporate sectors from the grassroots level to usher in a second Green Revolution in India.

In her address at prestigious Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation Awards ceremony here, Patil said there are many complementaries that exist between the agriculture and corporate sectors because both are private enterprises.

‘We must not forget that the food security of India is dependent on the growth of its agriculture. We should aim at enhancing productivity by using better technology and innovative farming practices, with the active participation of the panchayats, to usher in a second Green Revolution,’ the president said.

She pointed out that the spirit of ‘Sarvodaya’ or welfare for all espoused by Mahatma Gandhi as his primary purpose of development is behind the country’s concept of inclusive growth.

More than two-thirds – 70 percent – of India’s population lives in villages and India’s development will not be comprehensive or complete unless there is development in the rural areas, with increased agricultural productivity, she said.

‘Our farmers are ready and willing to work, earn and learn and we have to respond positively. We have to involve the agricultural economy more pro-actively into the growth process as a centre of production and as a generator of demand for various products and services,’ the president said.

Accordingly, the possibilities of a ‘win-win’ partnership between agriculture and industry must be fully explored.

In this context, the president said that since science and technology hold the key to progress, productivity of capital, labour and resources are dependent on the technology used.

‘Our scientists and researchers should find efficient and cost-effective options for growth. India is a leading country in the IT sector. For us to continue to be leaders in an increasingly knowledge-based world, it should require sustained efforts in building institutions of excellence in science, where research and development is undertaken,’ she said.

Noting the government is pursuing a public-private partnership model in many sectors, the president exhorted NGOs, civil society, entrepreneurs and industrialists should come forward to support government programmes of social welfare, capacity building and infrastructure development.

The Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation was inaugurated in 1977 and confers four awards annually to individuals doing outstanding work in different fields.

This year’s winners include Chunibhai Vaidya, a 94-year old Gandhian from Gujarat, and Chewang Norphel from Leh whose innovative ‘Artificial Glacier Technology’ is a unique, simple and cost-effective means of high altitude water harvesting and conservation technique.

Shakuntala Baideo, an 92-year-old Gandhian from Assam, has done exemplary work for women and children development in a self-effacing manner, Prof Lia Diskin, the founder of the Palas Athena Association in Brazil, started a programme of observing Gandhi Week in his country since 1982.

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