Sonia Gandhi further said, “We have always kept national unity as our top priority. We need to remember Indira Gandhi’s courage and her sentiments so that we can fight that fear with conviction.” She also lauded the public sector’s efforts that connected people of various regions in the country,
Sonia Gandhi also commented that not much attention is paid to uniting different parts of the country and their people these days. While referring the difficult times of 1960s when India had faced foodgrain shortage and had to import foodgrains, Sonia Gandhi praised Indira Gandhi’s efforts and the role of Swaminatahan in making India self-reliant in the agriculture sector. “During that time too, there were people who would criticise and find faults and there were people who would not have trust. But despite all this, it was achieved well,” said the Congress President.
Sonia Gandhi recalled that among the challenges of independent India in terms of national unity was of creation of modern economic situation and institutions with special emphasis on agriculture production and distribution and development of agriculture techniques. The Congress President also reminded that that when most of the states were facing famine, Indira Gandhi took a pledge to achieve self-reliance in foodgrains.
While addressing the function, Prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh recalled the late Prime Minister’s contribution in the social and economic development of the masses and said she wanted to take the benefits of development to weaker sections of the society. ““There is a need to follow the path shown by Indira Gandhi as never before. Today, in some parts of the country, attempts are being made to divide the society on the basis of religion, caste and communities,” Singh said.. He added that it would not be wrong to say that India could achieve the Green Revolution due to Indira Gandhi’s leadership and Swaminathan’s efforts. “It was based on this foundation that today we have been able to bring in Food Security Act,” he said, referring to the legislation.
In his award acceptance speech, Dr. Swaminathan said when India had to import 10 million tonnes of foodgrain, Indira Gandhi planned creating a foodgrain reserve of the same quantity. He said food security helped India achieve an independent foreign policy. He said India’s help to people from the then East Pakistan and the nuclear testing were a result of its confidence it achieved through food security.
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