Pranab Mukherjee, President of India, speaking at a function on the 25th anniversary of M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Chennai, on August 7, said that freedom from hunger needs be the foremost priority of independent India and the National Food Security bill, to be discussed in the current parliamentary session, stated a PIB release.
Lauding upon the contribution of Dr. Swaminathan in green revolution of the country, Mukherjee said that the MSSRF was a unique Research and Training Centre for imparting pro-nature, pro-poor and pro-women orientation to technology
development and dissemination.
"The Foundation’s pro-women approach to agricultural and rural development led to the introduction of the Mahila Kisan Shasakthikaran Pariyojana by the Government of India
which I had the privilege of piloting in my capacity as Finance Minister. This Foundation is thus rendering outstanding service to our nation, both at the grassroots and public policy level," said Mukherjee.
Admiring efforts of the foundation to integrate livelihood and ecological security in a mutually reinforcing manner in rural and tribal India, Mukherjee added, "There is great scope for marrying traditional knowledge and wisdom with modern science in this area. Our earlier systems of agriculture focused more on risk avoidance than yield enhancement. Now, we need to combine both."
During his address, Mukherjee also raised concerns regarding the prevalence of widespread malnutrition, non-availability of clean drinking water in remote areas, lack of sanitation and toilets, low environmental hygiene and lack of primary health care in many regions of the country.
"To ensure adequate food production, we should harness the best in frontier technologies and blend them with the ecological prudence of rural and tribal men and women," advised Mukherejee.