Modi defends land bill, lists steps for farmers’ prosperity

Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday accused the Congress and some other opposition parties of agitating on the new land bill for their political self-interest and said his government was taking steps to protect land, provide irrigation, increase productivity and bring prosperity to farmers.

With the Congress and some other parties firmly opposed to the land bill, Modi spent a large part of his over hour-long speech to the work being done by his government for welfare of farmers. He said the government was keen to usher second green revolution.

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The Modi government has gone for re-promulgation of the land bill after the legislation could not be passed in the first half of budget session. The bill has been passed in the Lok Sabha where the government has a majority but not in the Rajya Sabha, where it lacks numbers.

Modi said if a farmer gets proper seeds and soil in his field is in good health, he can generate “gold” and the country cannot make progress till villages prosper.

“They (opposition parties) have gone on big agitations. They have stepped out for their political self-interest,” he said.

Noting agriculture needs technology and infrastructure and farmers need irrigation, roads and uninterrupted power supply, he asked if “people living in villages get these facilities or not”.

“I am a man who is connected to the ground,” Modi said and added that he had spent his life among farmers and the poor and understands their pain fully.

He said farmers were forced to sell their land to pay bribes for lowly government jobs for their children, adding a farmer was as much attached to his land as to his cattle and feels pain if loses his animal wealth.

The government, he said, wanted to improve production using technology, rationalising land records to return land to farmers and promoting animal husbandry.

He said his govenrment was working for “four-fold revolution” and linked it with four colours on the national flag including the chakra which is blue. Modi said that the government was working for a second green revolution, milk revolution, energy revolution and revolution in sea connectivity and development of coastal states.