'North-East can become organic hub of India, have global identity': PM Modi

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North-East India can become a huge hub of organic farming and the capital for organic products with its own identity in the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday.

“Just like Sikkim, the entire North-East can become a huge hub for organic farming. It can become the organic capital. It can bring about a revolution if the Indian Chamber of Commerce wants. You can create its global identity. If you want, you capture the global market with such products,” said PM Modi.

Sikkim became the first state in India to officially announce the adoption of organic farming in the year 2003 to ensure long term sustenance.

He also said that the ongoing initiative to get rid of single-use-plastic could prove beneficial for West Bengal because it can give a boost to the jute industry.

Also read: ‘Need to make Covid-19 crisis major turning point for nation’ - PM Modi

“Think about the profit West Bengal can make when every individual carries a jute bag made in West Bengal. Have you taken advantage of the initiative to get rid of single-use plastic? Have you started making packaging material with jute instead of plastic? You should take advantage of this. Who would help you if you don’t grab this opportunity?” he asked the chamber authorities, adding that the manufacturing sector in Bengal needs to be revived.

Bengal is tagged as the jute hub of India with around 60-odd jute mills in the state. During the Covid-19 lockdown, when mills had to be closed down, union textiles minister Smriti Irani had called up Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee requesting her to allow these mills to resume work. Banerjee had also received calls from chief ministers of Maharashtra and Telangana with requests to allow jute mills to resume work because the harvest season was nearing and the Food Corporation of India was looking up to Bengal for jute sacks.

The prime minister said that India should convert the Covid-19 crisis into a turning point towards becoming a self-reliant nation.

“Time has come to bring out the Indian economy from ‘command and control’ and move towards ‘plug and play’. This is not the time for a conservative approach. This is the time for bold decisions and bold investments,” he said.

Citing the example of the UJALA scheme, launched in January 2015, PM Modi stressed how ‘People, Planet and Profit’ can co-exist and flourish.

Also read: ‘No time for conservative approach’ - PM Modi calls for bold decisions to spur economy

“With LED lights we are saving Rs 19,000 crore every year. The emission of Carbon Dioxide has been reduced by around 4 crore tons,” said Modi.

He also said that the International Solar Alliance is becoming a big movement across the globe and efforts are being made to take full advantage of this. He urged the ICC to handhold various agencies and MSMEs working on this.

The prime minister started his address in Bengali saying, “Nomoshkar. Asha kori apnara sabai bhalo achen. (Namaskar. Hope you are all well)”. He often referred to Rabindranath Tagore and Swami Vivekananda during his speech while stressing the need for India to become a self-reliant nation.

Prime minister’s comments came while he was addressing the 95th annual plenary session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce via video conferencing on Thursday. The ICC is the top body representing businesses and industries in the eastern and north-eastern India.

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