31 Dec : The important goal of food security can be achieved only through rapid agricultural growth and multi-dimensional rural development, PresidentPratibha Patil said in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
"Food security is an important goal, particularly in the contemporary world, which faced a serious global food crisis earlier this year. This can only be achieved through rapid agricultural growth and multi-dimensional rural development," she said, while delivering the golden jubilee address at the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD).
To enhance agricultural productivity, land development and irrigation are necessary, she said.She, however, said there should be optimum utilisation of land as land is a scarce resource.
Efforts must also be made to improve land quality and to restore soil health, Patil said.Encouraging farmers to adopt improved agricultural practices, she said making innovative farm implements available to them would go a long way in improving farm productivity.
Stressing on the need for providing irrigation facilities, the President favoured building small structures like farm ponds, village tanks, nallah bunds, besides de-silting of existing water bodies to improve their water storage capacity.
"Apart from government programmes, these activities can also be undertaken through ‘shramdaan’ by motivating people," she said.
Noting that the rural communities in India face many challenges and opportunities, the President said rural development institutions should provide "creative" answers to such challenges.
An important assignment for the institutions and rural development managers would be to make new technologies available to the rural communities, she said.
"Technological interventions that are gender sensitive and link the weaker sections of society to the national
mainstream are the need of the hour," Patil said.
Underscoring the vast repository of traditional knowledge in the country, she said it is important to understand and value it.
Union Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh expressed confidence that poverty and unemployment in the country can be eliminated by taking up rural development programmes in a big way.
The budget for rural development has been enhanced from Rs 16,000 crore in 2004-05 to Rs 73,000 crore in 2008-09.
The UPA government has launched several programmes, including NREGS and ‘Aam Admi Yojana’ for increasing the earnings of people in rural areas, Prasad said.
Andhra Pradesh Governor N D Tiwari appreciated the role of the NIRD in the development of rural areas in the country.