Pune: India’s Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, on the second day of his Pune visit on Friday, said that disrespecting jawans of the Indian Army, neglecting agricultural sector and farmers and ignoring scientists, is a disservice to the nation.
He also nudged at the flurry of statements made by ministers and party members of the BJP by saying that those who make unscientific statements are also doing a kind of disservice to the nation.
The Vice President was in the city to head a two-day conference ‘National consultation on making agriculture sustainable’, where agricultural experts from the country’s premier organisations like NAFED, CII, FICCI, Indian Institute of Public Administration and others discussed the issues plaguing the agrarian sector of the country and solutions and path ahead.
Naidu said that he wanted to ensure that the programme was taken seriously. “Usually, chief guests come and go and leave the working of the programme to other people. I did not want this to happen. I wanted to ensure that the programme is taken seriously and has an impact on policy too.”
“I have been told by the ministers in the Centre as well as the states that the suggestions that come up in the consultation will be thought upon and followed up,” he added.
The Vice President also said that development of agriculture sector should be the top agenda for the country. “Without food security, there cannot be national security. There should be a long-term and a short-term planning to handle agriculture as well as a multi-pronged approach. But there is a conflict of interest for the government when it comes to focusing on consumer interests over farmers interests,” he said, adding, “There needs to be a balance of both.”
Naidu also added that there is a strong bias towards urban consumers. “The system is biased to benefit the urban consumers who are vocal. This needs to change and there should be an implementation of the discussed agendas after consulting all the stakeholders. The problem that we are facing is not of scarcity like earlier time,” Naidu said, adding, “Incidents like Mandsaur highlight that we are having a problem of plenty.”
Without food security, there cannot be national security. There should be a long-term and a short-term planning to handle agriculture as well as a multi-pronged approach.