Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday called for focusing on the health of soil to boost productivity and bring about increased prosperity.

Speaking at Union Government’s nationwide “Soil Health Card” scheme in Suratgarh (Sriganganagar), Modi described agriculture as the key to poverty eradication. At least 14 crore cards are envisaged to be issued over the next three years. Test reports could be made available over the internet or mobile phones, said the blueprint of the scheme.

The Prime Minister said soil testing would be made a regular feature and a new class of entrepreneurs could set up soil testing labs even in small towns. He hinted at making soil testing mandatory once a year.

Science labs in senior secondary schools could be temporarily converted into soil testing labs in February-June when exams were in progress, he said. The students of higher classes may be trained in such labs.

He said he was out to change the habit of previous governments of organising such functions in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. “I am determined to change such habits. We launched “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” scheme in Haryana to improve gender ration and literacy rate. Now the state of deserts has hosted soil health improvement campaign. I It was essential to save both “Beti” and “Dharti Maa, he added.”

Responding to submissions made by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje, he said it was essential to use water judiciously. He said excess and scarcity of water were both dangerous, and therefore, the key to good agriculture was “boond-boond paani” (drip water).

Excessive use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides should be avoided, he said.

Advising the states to come up with agriculture plans under the aegis of the NITI Aayog, Modi said things would now move from bottom to top.

He however did not respond to the demand raised by Raje for fixing Minimum Support Price (MSP) well in advance. Raje had complained that farmers were not getting remunerative prices.

Punjab awarded for record crop production

PM Narendra Modi on Thursday awarded states for their achievements in  the agriculture sector at a function in Suratgarh. Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and Agriculture Minister Tota Singh received the first prize (Rs 5 crore) for food production in 2013-14 in the 10 million tonne category. Progressive farmers Veerpal Kaur and Kulwant Singh were given individual prizes of Rs 2 lakh each.

Soil Health Card scheme unveiled

  • Under the scheme, at least 14 crore cards are envisaged to be issued over the next three years
  • A card will contain all basic information and crop-wise recommendations of nutrients or fertilizers required for farms of various soil types

Source: The Tribune