In a unique social initiative, Haryana Jails Minister Ranjit Singh has decided to train over 20,000 inmates in state's 19 jails in the zero-budget natural farming.
As part of the plan, he sowed the seeds of the zero-budget natural farming at the high-security Rohtak jail on Tuesday. Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat, an avid promoter of the zero-budget natural farming, was also present.
While the zero budget farming means no credit and no spending on purchase of inputs, the natural farming follows the nature and no chemical fertilisers are used.
Talking about the initiative, the Minister told IANS, inmates of the Rohtak's Sunaria jail were trained in the zero-budget natural farming by involving Padma Shri recipient and agriculturist Subhash Palekar.
"The training's purpose is to educate prisoners about importance of the zero budget framing. On their release from the prison, they can play a major role in spreading awareness about it in their localities or villages," he said.
"We are aiming to promote natural farming in villages through jails," Singh said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has entrusted Governor Devvrat with the responsibility to lead the Governors in preparing a framework for making it feasible across the country.
As Himachal Pradesh Governor in 2015-19, Devvrat had set up natural farming departments in agricultural and horticultural universities and motivated Ph.D students to work with farmers and share their research work with them.
On Devvrat's advice, the Himachal government took up the idea and started making Rs 25 crore budgetary provision every financial year.
He had told IANS earlier the zero-budget natural farming could be practiced on large-scale and help increase the farm income. Stating that farm income could not be raised with chemical fertilisers and pesticides, he said farmers must adopt the already tested zero-budget natural farming.
Devvrat also speaks about his experience at his Gurukul in Haryana's Kurukshetra where he had practiced natural farming in about 200 acres.
Natural farming, he said would also benefit medium and large farmers and help in stopping soil degradation, retaining soil fertility and was climate-change resilient.
According to him, 50,000 farmers in Himachal Pradesh, 1.50 lakh in Gujarat and 5,00,000 in Andhra Pradesh have adopted the zero-budget natural farming.
(Vishal Gulati can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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