We have given a new deal to rural India : PM

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New Delhi, Aug 15 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said his government has given a new deal to rural India through a Rs 71,000 crore debt waiver to distressed farmers and proposed investment of Rs 25,000 crore in agriculture through the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

Addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort here on the occasion of the 62nd Independence Day, he said that in the past four years, bank credit for agricultural sector had increased from Rs 81,000 crore to Rs 2,25,000 crore, and the interest rates for farm loans were reduced.

Dr Singh said the governent also steeply increased the procurement prices of wheat by 50 per cent and paddy by 30 per cent to improve the economic conditions of farmers.

"The National Food Security Mission has been set up to enhance production of rice, wheat and pulses," he added.

The Prime Minister said irrigation, watershed development, development of rain-fed areas, and flood management had been given special attention.

He said government's efforts at increasing investment in rural areas and reducing the debt burden of farmers had turned the country's agricultural economy around.

After almost a decade of stagnation, especially from 1998 to 2004, investment in agriculture was increasing and there had been a revival in this area, he said, adding ''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," the PM added.

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