Govt committed to curbing price rise, says PM

Assistance to deal with drought soon

Govt committed to curbing price rise, says PM


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh delivers Independence Day speech the Red Fort on Saturday. AFP

“It is our ardent desire that not even a single citizen of India should ever go hungry,” he said from the ramparts of the Red Fort amid a steady drizzle. He emphasised that the country had adequate stock of food grain, and that the government would make all efforts to curb the rising prices of essential commodities.

Referring to the deficient monsoon this year, the prime minister said the government had postponed the date for repayment of bank loans availed by farmers, and that it was also extending additional support to them for payment of interest on short-term loans.

“I have always believed that India’s prosperity is not possible without the prosperity of farmers. This is the reason why the government has waived bank loans of lakhs of farmers. We have increased the support prices for agricultural products by far more than ever before,” he said. Singh said because of monsoon deficiency, there would “definitely” be some adverse impact on crops this year. But he expressed confidence that the country would be able to meet the situation “quite well.” “We will provide all possible assistance to our farmers to deal with the drought,” Singh added.

The prime minister also appealed to all state governments to exercise their statutory powers to prevent hoarding and black marketing of essential commodities.

Referring to the need to adopt modern means in agriculture and to make more efficient use of scarce land and water resources, he said the country’s scientists must devise new techniques to help small and marginal farmers. “More attention will have to be paid to the needs of those farmers who do not have the means for irrigation.”

The country needs yet another Green Revolution, and we will try our best to make it possible. Our goal is 4 per cent annual growth in agriculture, and I am confident that we will be able to achieve this target in the next five years,” he said.

Singh further said the food security law on the anvil would ensure that every family living below the poverty line would get a fixed amount of food grain every month at concessional rates. Referring to Naxalism, the prime minister said the UPA government would seek to remove the causes of social and economic dissatisfaction “which give rise” to such problems. “We believe in a development process, which will remove backwardness, unemployment and disparities in income and wealth. We seek the active partnership of our brothers and sisters of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in our development processes,” he said.

He refuted the BJP-Sangh Parivar charges that the government was appeasing the minorities. Taking special care of the deprived sections did not amount to appeasement.
“We believe it is our solemn duty to do so. Our government will give its full attention to the well being of our brothers and sisters from the minority communities. We have started many schemes for the welfare of the minorities. These programmes will be taken forward,” he said.

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