NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday gave a clarion call to farmers to gradually reduce the use of chemical fertilisers and eventually stop their usage to protect soil health.
Modi, from the ramparts of the Red Fort here, said the mother earth was being destroyed due to excessive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
"Have we ever thought about the health of the mother earth? The way we are using chemical fertilisers and pesticides, we are destroying the earth," he said adding that nobody has the right to damage soil health.
"I have a request for our farming community. We are going to celebrate 75 years of our Independence. Gandhi has shown us the path. Can we reduce the use of chemical fertilisers by 10 to 25 per cent in our farmlands," the prime minister said adding that a campaign should eventually start to stop their use completely.
Indian farmers, who are heavily dependent on monsoon rains for their crops, use about 55 million tonne urea and P&K (phosphatic and potassic) fertilisers every year for higher yields.
In addition, there is the rampant use of pesticides to tackle crop damages.
Modi also said the government was committed to double farmers' income.
The government, he said, has announced Rs 90,000 crore under the PM Kisan scheme to provide direct income support to farmers.
In the Budget 2019-20, a provision of over Rs 87,000 crore has been made under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, under which Rs 6,000 is being given to 14.5 crore farmers annually directly in their bank accounts.
He also talked about the new pension schemes launched for farmers and small traders.