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President Lauds Government's Effort To Empower Farmers In India

President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday credited small farmers for the strength of the Indian agricultural sector, hailed the government for its women’s rights push and lauded India’s growth as one of the fastest growing world economies.

Ayushi Raina
President Ram Nath Kovind credited small farmers for the strength of India's agricultural sector
President Ram Nath Kovind credited small farmers for the strength of India's agricultural sector

President Ram Nath Kovind credited small farmers for the strength of India's agricultural sector & praised the government for its women's rights drive, and lauded India's progress as one of the world's fastest growing economies. 

The President made a special mention of the draught bill introduced recently to increase the legal marriageable age of women on par with men at 21 years, and he highlighted record GST collections. 

The President acknowledged national resilience in the face of Covid 19 in his address to both houses of Parliament on Monday, saying record delivery of over 150 crore vaccine doses has made India one of the top countries with the highest doses administered. 

During the address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Pralhad Patel, deputy chairman Rajya Sabha Harivansh, BJP chief JP Nadda, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and TMC leader in LS Sudip Bandopadhyay were seated in the front row in the Central Hall of Parliament. 

Congress president Sonia Gandhi was not present. "I would like to offer maximum credit to the country's small farmers for this steady success and boosting the agriculture sector," the President stated in his nearly 50-minute address. Small farmers' interests, which accounts for 80 percent of the farmer-community, have always been essential to our government." 

He mentioned PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi and a direct cash transfer of Rs.1.80 crore to over 11 crore farmer families as investments, and he stated that over Rs.1 lakh crore had been granted as compensation to 8 crore farmers since crop insurance scheme reforms were implemented. 

The government had previously said that the now-repealed farm laws would assist small farmers tremendously. The President praised farmers for producing more than 30 million tonnes of food grains and 33 million tonnes of horticultural products in 2020-21, as well as the government for matching record procurement. 

"During Rabi season, the government purchased 433 lakh metric tonnes of wheat, benefiting almost 50 lakh farmers.  A record quantity of around 900 lakh metric tonnes of paddy was procured during Kharif season, benefiting 1 crore 30 million farmers," the President said, adding that agriculture exports had also hit a record level, rising more than 25 percent to nearly Rs.3 lakh crore in 2020-21. 

The President said that while several major countries faced starvation during Covid, India's sensitive government ensured that nobody remained hungry. He presented the government's report card across sectors, including potable water delivery to 6 crore rural households, pucca house construction and infrastructure among other things. 

"Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, the government provides free ration to each impoverished household every month." With a budget of Rs.260000 crore, this is the world's largest food distribution program reaching out to 80 crore recipients over the course of 19 months. Being fully aware of the current situation, the administration has extended this scheme until March 2022," the President stated. 

He termed women's empowerment one of the government's top priorities, stating, "Treating sons and daughters as equals, my government has also introduced a Bill to elevate the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years, at par with men." 

He expressed his happiness that 33 Sainik Schools have begun accepting females and that the first batch of women cadets will enter the National Defence Academy in June 2022. 

On economy, the President stated that India has once again emerged as one of the world's fastest growing economies, and GST collection has consistently remained above Rs.1 lakh crore over the past several months. 

"Inflows of 48 billion dollars in the first seven months of the current fiscal year attest to the global investment community's conviction in India's economic narrative," he added, highlighting India's foreign exchange reserves reaching 630 billion dollars and exports smashing many previous records. 

The President stated that from April to December 2021, goods exports stood at $300 billion dollars, or more than Rs.22 lakh crore, which is one and a half times more than the corresponding period in 2020. He also spoke of India's growing self-reliance in defence and rising diplomatic heft in the world. 

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