Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday lauded farmers for not letting the country down during the Covid-19 pandemic, and called for an integrated approach towards rural economy to ensure income security for them.
"Our objective should be the overall well-being of the rural society. We need to develop an integrated approach towards rural economy to ensure income security of our farmers," he said.
Releasing works of Sir Chhotu Ram at an event in Gurgaon, the vice president credited him with major agricultural reforms in undivided Punjab.
Improving the quality of life in rural areas will be a true tribute to revolutionary visionaries like him, Naidu added.
Naidu was addressing a gathering after releasing five volumes of 'Sir Chhotu Ram: Writings and Speeches' brought out by the Haryana Academy of History and Culture.
He suggested that copies of the publication should be available in public libraries and Panchayat Ghar so that the people could read and learn about the life and work of the great leader.
Naidu reiterated the need to modernise agriculture and adopt best practices to make it more sustainable and remunerative.
"Building on our past experiences, we must regularly revisit and renew our strategies on agriculture and rural development, and introduce new technologies as part of our efforts to build a self-reliant India," he said in an official statement.
Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy, and the country cannot progress if villages remain underdeveloped and backward, Naidu said.
He further said that many of our freedom fighters did not get the recognition they deserved, and called for efforts to spread awareness about their life and work.
Observing that the independence movement was not just a political movement, he said, it had a deep social and economic reformist agenda as well.
Naidu praised contributions of Sir Chhotu Ram for the cause of nation building.
"He worked tirelessly to bring reforms in the agriculture sector and to free farmers from the exploitation of money lenders," he said.
Mentioning that Sir Chhotu Ram was the first person to visualise the Bhakhra Nagal dam on Sutlej river, the vice president said he was a farmer's son and had deep understating of farmers' problems.
He also praised the legendary leader for his bold initiatives in the field of social reform and education.
Naidu recalled Sir Chhotu Ram's strong opposition to the partition of the country, saying he was a true nationalist who dreamt of a united and strong India.
Sir Chhotu Ram was a man of renaissance, and he ushered in new ideas in polity, society and rural economy, the vice president said.
Younger generations should take inspiration from great personalities like Chhotu Ram, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, Ram Manohar Lohia and Chaudhary Charan Singh and strive to build an "Atmanirbhar Bharat", he said.
Complimenting former Union minister Birendra Singh, the grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram, Naidu urged all state governments to prepare similar compilations on prominent leaders.
He exhorted the youth "to read books on great leaders such as Chhotu Ram, visit historical places such as their birthplaces and draw inspiration from their lives".
Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar, former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, and former Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna were among those who attended the event.
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