HYDERABAD: “Unless more social prestige is attached to farming, youth will continue to turn away from it. The need of the hour is intellectual stimulation and economical rewards to bring in more youth to the sector,” suggested Dr MS Swaminathan, popularly known as the Father of the Indian Green revolution.
Delivering the first memorial lecture in honour of Swami Ranganathananda, the late president of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, at the Vivekananda Institute of Human Excellence here on Tuesday, he spoke at length on his favourite topic, farming.
Recalling his association with Swami Ranganathananda, he highlighted the monk’s keen interest in science and technology and explained how a country like India could only afford a ‘DO Ecology’ and not a ‘Do Not ecology’ if it was to move forward.
“Development in the dimensions of age and gender are required if we are to move ahead in shaping our agricultural destiny better. Most men today migrate to the cities for work and so women should turn to farming to add to the family’s financial standing. Also the educated youth should bring in technology into farming,” he opined.
The Padma Vibhushan awardee also explained about a number of government related schemes to encourage youth to return to farming, and added with a hint of sadness that despite 75% of jobs continuing to remain in the farming sector, all the income continued to remain in non-farming sectors, which was leading to people selling off even their farmlands.
But expressing happiness at India’s present food production levels, Dr Swaminathan said that once the Government passed the Food Security Bill in Parliament, 60 million tonnes of homegrown food would be earmarked for social protection schemes, a throwback to the early days of Independence when India was a major importer of food grains and was considered by economists around the world as a country that would starve itself to death.
But he also cautioned that new developments in the agriculture sector should be taken keeping the ecology in mind.
“There were many reports suggesting that the Green revolution caused ecological damage. Maintaining ecological balance along with development is a major challenge before us,” he said.
He requested the Ramakrishna Math to set up a centre for translation research in honour of Swami Ranganathananda.