New Delhi: RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale on Saturday said the linkage between inflation and food prices needs to be given serious thought and stressed that people want food, clothing and shelter to be affordable as they are basic requirements.
Hosabale also credited all governments till date for making India self-reliant in agriculture. He underlined that though the essentials have to be affordable for everyone, farmers should not have to bear the brunt of it.
He was speaking at an international conference on agriculture organised by the RSS-affiliate Bharatiya Kisan Sangh along with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Bharatiya Agro Economic Research Centre.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader’s remarks come amid intense attack on the central government by the opposition parties on the issues of rising prices and imposition of GST on basic food items such as flour and curd.
Referring to a presentation made by Amul Managing Director RS Sodhi on the linkage between inflation and food prices, Hosabale said, “The issue of linkage between inflation and food prices needs to be given a serious thought.”
“In the presentation it was suggested that people are ready to pay more for industrial products but not for food items… it is obvious that people want food, clothing and shelter to be affordable as they are basic requirements to live,” Hosabale said while adding that cooperatives can play a big role in this regard.
Talking about the growth in the agriculture sector, Hosabale said, “In last 75 years, the development in the agriculture is a matter of pride for all of us…India became an exporting nation (in food grains) from a begging bowl.
“India has not only become self-reliant in grains but can also send to other countries and for that credit goes to all governments till date, scientists and farmers.”
Emphasising the need for raising the stature of farmers, Hosabale said a movement is required to make agriculture attractive which will also help in checking rapid migration from villages to cities.
“There is no guaranteed income for farmers and their livelihoods are dependent on many external factors such as rains. There are challenges such as rising input costs.
“But the thing that I see going down is the social status of a farmer in the society. Even in government functions at the lowest level, I have seen lawyers and school principals being invited but not farmers,” he said.
He added that more focus needs to be on rural industrialisation that can prevent unplanned migration from villages to cities. Institutes such as NCRI started by PV Narasimha Rao need to be strengthened.
Noting that Indian agricultural practices have been always ahead of the time, Hosabale, said students of agriculture must also learn about India’s ancient knowledge systems that had the best traditional farming practices.