Special Correspondent

Programmes for rural development listed

Jalayagnam will transform rural economy, says YSRNumber of measures taken for people's welfareFocus on further research in cultivation

HYDERABAD: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy used the 93rd Indian Science Congress on Tuesday to showcase to the cream of India's scientific community the achievements of his Government in the areas of rural development and irrigation.

Delivering his address, he said his Government's 'Jalayagnam', a mission to bring 65 lakh acres of land under cultivation by completing 31 irrigation projects, would transform the State's rural economy while the Rajiv Internet Village (RajIV) would help farmers update themselves on the latest market trends. A new programme called 'Indiramma' would provide for development of model villages and towns, he said.

Role of science

Conceding that rural India had benefited immensely from the scientific community as the use of smokeless chulhas and solar cookers, and from Ramaswamy, who championed the case of lightening the yoke on bullocks, he said a lot remained to be done.

The fact that 26 per cent of the population, mostly in rural areas, was living below the poverty line made one think whether science and technology had made a significant difference to the quality of life in rural areas compared to towns and cities.

Speaking about his own Government, he said it had taken a number of measures such as free power supply to farmers and moratorium on repayment of loans to create confidence among farmers. But, the moot question still remained: could the farmer continue to viably cultivate in the present scenario? The answer to this, he said, lay with scientists.

Pet theme

Dwelling upon his latest pet theme -- encouraging farmers to plant paddy varieties that consume less water -- he said one farmer in Ranga Reddy district had produced 92 bags of paddy an acre by adopting the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Further research in this area was of paramount importance, he added.