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New Delhi : The Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on October 7, 2018, called upon doctors to create awareness among the people on the dangers posed by lifestyle diseases and the need to promote healthy living. Inaugurating a free Medical Camp jointly organized by the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology and Swarna Bharat Trust (SBT) on the latter’s premises at Hyderabad, Naidu emphasised that people must pay greater attention to their health and wellness as prevention is better than cure. He said that a healthy nation can become a wealthy nation but not vice- versa. The spending on healthcare will naturally come down if people are healthy, he added.

Expressing his anguish over the lack of adequate medical facilities in rural areas, Naidu lauded the Union Government for launching Ayushman Bharat to provide health insurance cover to five crore families in rural areas and 2.5 crore families in urban areas. The scheme would provide coverage of up to Rs. 5 lakh per family per year. He also complimented the government for planning to establish one primary health centre for every 5,000 population and increase their number to 1.5 lakh.

The Vice President expressed his deep appreciation to eminent gastroenterologist and Chairman, Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Dr D Nageshwar Reddy for organising the free medical camp at SBT.

Later speaking after giving away ‘Rythu Nestham’ awards, the Vice President warned that there was a danger of farmers leaving agriculture unless farming was made profitable and viable. He said the emphasis should be on bringing down the input costs and not only on increasing productivity. The indiscriminate use of fertilizers, pesticides, electricity and water also need to be curbed. The Vice President said that scientists must ensure research outcomes must directly reach the farmers (Lab to Land).

Observing that zero budget natural farming promoted by eminent agriculturist Subhash Palekar was beneficial, the Vice President pointed out that it would help in reducing costs and providing a stable income to farmers. It would also protect the consumers from the ill-effects of pesticides. As a matter of fact, only 10% of water and electricity would be required for natural farming compared normal farming, he added.

The Vice President also stressed the need to create awareness among farmers to diversify to allied activities to increase their incomes. A study has shown that there were no suicides by farmers who had diversified to allied activities like poultry, dairy and fisheries, he added.

Lauding PM Narendra Modi for increasing the MSP for various crops and for launching farmer friendly schemes like soil health cards and PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, the Vice President also appealed to the private sector to step up investment in agriculture, according to a PIB release.

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