In the wake of bumper pulses crop this year and delayed crop cycle, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced extension in the deadline for procurement of pulses by Central agencies at MSP rate.

The deadline, which was earlier set at April 15 by the Centre will be extended by a week, Modi told a huge gathering of farmers at a public rally during the inauguration of projects including cattle-feed plant by Sumul Dairy at Bajipura near Surat.

"We have received several requests from the farmer bodies and state governments to extend the procurement process beyond the deadline of April 15. This is because the monsoon was delayed last year and we understand the crop cycle too got elongated because of that. Today, I am glad to announce that we have decided to extend the deadline for procurement by one week," Modi said.

For the first time the Centre had launched a pulses procurement programme spearheaded by National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (Nafed).

Taking a dig at his political opponents, Modi stated that soon after the formation of his government in May 2014, he faced criticism over high prices of dals (pulses).

"But we were inherited with that situation. I had appealed to our farmers to spare some land for pulses cultivation as we are highly dependent on it for protein. Today, we have the result with bumper pulses crop," he said.

Modi inaugurated projects by Surat District Co-Operative Milk Producer's Union Ltd (Sumul) Dairy near Vyara, where the dairy cooperative set up a fully automatic ice-cream plant, a cattle-feed plant with a capacity of 500 tonnes per day and a honey project with a total investment of Rs 400 crore.

Modi also performed ground-breaking for a Rs 172-crore milk powder plant and bakery plant.

In an indicative reference to the former Janata Party leader and ex-Prime Minister Morarji Desai, Modi recalled him twice in two separate addresses.

At the Sumul Dairy inauguration, Modi recalled the South Gujarat leader's connection with Sumul Dairy, where the latter had inaugurated the first plant for the dairy in 1965 as then finance minister.

Earlier in the day during the meeting with the diamond traders at Hare Krishna Exports' facility in Surat, Modi had recalled Desai saying, "Surat had given this country a Prime Minister in Morarji Desai. Today, the economic progress that we have achieved and the direction of our policies would surely provide him a great satisfaction."

The Prime Minister also appealed to the diamantaires to start focusing on gems and jewellery making.

"We have achieved diamond in diamond trade. Now is the turn for gems and jewellery sector. Like diamond trade, we should aim to become world's no.1 in gems and jewellery making too. And the focus should not just be on manufacturing but also on the designing of jewellery. The Government will provide all required support for this," said Modi during his speech after inaugurating a newly built facility of Hare Krishna Exports.

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