Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hailed farmers as the backbone of the country's growth. Speaking at an event to mark the centenary celebrations of the historic Chauri Chaura incident, he said that the NDA government in the last six years has taken measures to make farmers self-reliant.
"Farmers have been behind the progress of the country. They also played important role in Chauri Chaura struggle. In the last six years, steps have been taken to make farmers self-reliant. As a result of this, the agriculture sector has grown even during the pandemic," he said amid the farmers' protest against the government's three farm laws.
"We have taken several steps in the interest of farmers. To make mandis profitable for farmers, 1,000 more mandis will be linked to e-NAM," the Prime Minister added.
He also urged people to take a pledge that the unity of the country is everyone's priority. "We have to pledge that the unity of the country is our priority and its respect above everything. With this feeling, we have to move forward along with each and every people of India," he said.
He also targeted previous governments, saying they drafted the Union Budget with an eye on their vote bank and made budgets a medium of announcements they could not fulfil but now the country has changed its approach.
"From decades, the meaning of budget in our country was only restricted to what announcements have been made on whose name. Budget was turned into an account for the vote bank," he said.
"You all make an account of household expenditure by keeping in mind present needs and future responsibilities. But earlier governments made budgets a medium of such announcements that they could not fulfil. Now the country has changed such 'soch' (thought) and approach," he added.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana have been camping at Delhi's borders for several weeks, demanding the repeal of the farm laws and a legal guarantee on the minimum support price for crops. They claim that the new laws will weaken the MSP system. But the Centre says the MSP system will remain and the new laws only provide more options for farmers to sell their produce.