India's population galloping, but no one paying attention: Venkaiah Naidu
Feb. 14, 2020
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday expressed concern over galloping population of the country saying it was unfortunate that political parties are shy of discussing the issue which has widespread ramifications.
Addressing the 58th convocation of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), he said India's poor ranking in the global hunger index was a matter of concern and policymakers as well as farm scientists must introspect and address this issue by ensuring food and nutritional security of the country.
"While the position on food front is comfortable with total foodgrains production at 283.37 million tonnes. India, however, ranks 102nd in the global hunger index. This is a matter of concern," Naidu said.
The policy makers, politicians, parliamentarians, agricultural universities and farm scientists must be "seriously concerned why we are still at 102nd rank in the global hunger index", he said, and sought to know whether it was because of lack of policy or poor implementation of programmes.
"We must all introspect seriously and address this concern," Naidu said.
The Vice President highlighted that the country's total foodgrains production has increased to 283.37 million tonnes from nearly 51 million tonnes in 1950-51.
"We have achieved self sufficiency in food but mere food security will not suffice. We need to have protein security. There is vitamin deficiency in each and every person. We must address the problem of protein," Naidu said.
He asked farm scientist to focus on raising crop yield and production level and cited example of Vietnam, where productivity of rice is 10 times more than India.
"In a country like India with a galloping population, unfortunately no body is paying attention to the issue of population. Political parties are feeling shy, politicians are feeling shy, Parliament also do not adequately discuss about the issue," Naidu said.
"You know how population is growing leaps and bounds, creating problems. See the problems in Delhi, traffic, more human beings, more vehicles, more problems more tension, less attention. If you have tension you cannot pay attention," the Vice President said, addressing students and faculties of IARI.
"One is of course addressing the issue of population and secondly the need for increasing food production not only for our food security but also for food security of the world... In future if population increases like this, and you are not able to adequately match it with increase in production, there will be problem," Naidu said.
The Vice President said the country like India cannot depend on imported food security and therefore ensuring "home grown food security" should be the priority.
"For us 130 crore population, we need to come out with more production, more varieties, more qualities and more nutritious (crops). This is one important aspect that I would like to flag before all of you," he told students.
The alarming prevalence of malnutrition and hidden hunger are matters of grave concern, the Vice President said and pointed out that more than 80 per cent of adolescents in India suffer from hidden hunger.
With all the scientific, technological, and industrial advancement, Naidu said even today nearly 60 per cent of Indian population is dependent on agriculture and allied activities.
The Vice President asked students of IARI to focus on their lifestyle and food habits. He exhorted them to eat healthy food and practice Yoga. "Yoga is for body not for Modi," he told students.
The Vice President talked about judicious use of fertilisers and pesticides, and also emphasised on crop diversification, food processing, storage and value addition to boost farmers income.
Naidu said the government has launched several schemes including Rs 87,000 crore PM-KISAN, for welfare of farmers and now focus should be on proper implementation.
The scientist should focus more on enhancing the productivity of small and marginal farms, he added.
The Vice President also highlighted that the government has now started a good practice of giving farmers Padma awards, which he said was earlier presented mostly to elites staying in Lutyen Zone and Khan market in the national capital.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary and ICAR Director General T Mohapatra were present on this occasion.
IARI Director Ashok Kumar Singh and Dean Rashmi Aggarwal presented report on the significant achievements of the institute during 2019.