NEW DELHI — Highlighting benefits of the just-announced Crop Insurance Scheme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday awareness about it should be spread across the country so that at least 50 per cent of the farmers join it within two years.
In his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat', he also pitched for continued efforts to popularise Khadi and awarness to save girl child, mentioned about the recently launched 'Start-Up India' programme and talked about the upcoming International Fleet Review to be held in Visakhapatnam.
Modi said he needs the "maximum help" from people about spreading awareness regarding the Pradhan Mantri Crop Insurance Scheme which was launched earlier this month.
"In our country, a lot is said in the name of farmers. I don't want to get involved in that debate. But farmers face a major crisis. In natural calamity, their entire effort goes waste. His one year goes waste. To give him security, only one thing comes to mind and that is crop insurance," he said in this year's first edition of the monthly radio programme.
Farmers face a major crisis. In natural calamity, their entire effort goes waste. His one year goes waste.
"In (the New Year) 2016, the central government has given a big gift to the farmers -- Pradhan Mantri Crop Insurance Scheme. This scheme has been brought not for the purpose that it should be praised or the Prime Minister should be hailed," he said.
ALSO READ: Bajrang Dal Activists Shave Man's Head, Parade Him On Donkey For Alleged Religious Conversion
The Prime Minister said that for so many years, there has been a talk regarding crop insurance but "not more than 20-25 per cent" of the country's farmers had been been able to benefit from such schemes.
"Can we take a pledge that we should connect at least 50 per cent of the farmers to this scheme in two years? I need this help from you. Because if a farmer joins the scheme, he will get huge help during a natural calamity," he said.
Modi said this time, the scheme has got "wide acceptability because it has been made quite extensive and easy and involves use of technology. Not only this. If something happens to the crop within 15 days after harvest, even then help is assured."
Usage of technology will ensure speedy assessment and disbursement of compensation, he said.
"The biggest thing is that the rate of premium has been kept so low which nobody would have imagined. The rate of premium for Kharif crop has been kept 2 per cent while for Rabi crop it is one-and-a-half per cent.
"Now tell me, if any farmer is deprived of the benefits of this scheme, will he not suffer loss? I want the awareness about this scheme to spread," he said.
The Prime Minister also referred to the 'Start-Up India' scheme rolled out on January 16 and said it had infused new energy among the youth.
"Can we take a pledge that we should connect at least 50 per cent of the farmers to this scheme in two years?
He said there was a wrong notion earlier that the initiative is limited to the sophisticated area of Information Technology and now it has become clear that there are enormous opportunities under this programme in all kinds of sectors and areas, including farming.
In this regard, he gave some examples of StartUp in farming sector in Sikkim which was recently declared an Organic State. He invited more examples of StartUp initiatives.
In his nearly 30-minute radio broadcast, Modi also talked about cleanliness and beautification efforts being made in the country as also the upcoming South Asian games to be held in Guwahati and board examinations for Class X and XII.
Referring to efforts to beautify places like railway stations, bus stands, temples, mosques, churches, besides keeping them clean, he asked people to send photos to him displaying this endeavour.
He also appealed to the people to keep statues clean as a mark of respect to departed leaders.
Modi also underlined the importance of duty of citizens along with their rights.
He referred to the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi which was yesterday and said people should every year observe a two-minute silence at 11 AM in the memory of the country's martyrs.
Talking about popularising of Khadi regarding which he had issued an appeal in his first 'Mann Ki Baat' programme in October 2014, the Prime Minister said more and more youths are now using Khadi products.
He, once again, asked people to have at least one set of Khadi clothing as part of their wardrobe.
With regard to the International Fleet Review being held from February 4 to 8 in Visakhapatnam, Modi said naval assets several countries across the world will participate in the event being hosted by India.
He said the event is of major significance and importance in the maritime history.
While talking about the upcoming board examinations, Modi asked the students to appear without tension or anxiety.
He asked the successful students of last year to send their examples to him so that he could publicise them and the students appearing now could learn how to appear without tension.
He said people can listen to the 'Mann Ki Baat' episodes again by giving a missed call to the number 8190881908.
Also on HuffPost: