New Delhi, Aug 15 (UNI) With just eight months left for the completion of his five-year term, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today set the tone of the campaign for the next Lok Sabha elections, listing out the promises he had made and those he had kept up in the past 51 months.
In his address to the nation on the occasion of the 62nd Independence Day, he highlighted the special thrust given to sectors of agriculture, rural infrastructure and employment, education and health care.
''Four years ago, on this day, I stood here before you and spoke to you about our government's new vision for a new India. It has been our sincere endeavour to work for the building of such an India.
''Four years ago, I stood here and told you that I have no promises to make, but I have promises to keep. It has been the sincere endeavour of our government to keep each of these promises.'' Asserting that the government had given a new deal to rural India, he said Rs 2,500 crore were being invested through the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. Agricultural loans worth Rs 71,000 crore had been waived, besides increasing bank credit for agricultural sector from Rs 81,000 crore to Rs 2,25,000 crore and reducing the interest rates for farm loans.
In order to improve the economic conditions of farmers, the government had steeply increased the procurement prices for food grains; 50 per cent for wheat and 30 per cent for paddy.
The National Food Security Mission has been set up to enhance production of rice, wheat and pulses.
Dr Singh said the effort of the government in increasing investment in rural areas and reducing the debt burden of farmers had turned our agricultural economy around.
''After almost a decade of stagnation, especially from 1998 to 2004, investment in agriculture is increasing and there has been a revival in this area. We have had record production of foodgrains, cotton and sugar in 2007-08.
''Our farms are once again green. Our godowns are once again filling up. Our farmers are once again hopeful about their future and their welfare,'' he said.
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