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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 April 2024

Bill Gates meets Odisha CM, discusses technology-driven farmer empowerment initiatives

The state has been partnering with the Foundation since 2017 to forward shared goals around improving farmers' income, nutrition security, and climate resilience in the state

PTI Bhubaneswar Published 28.02.24, 06:30 PM
Bill Gates.

Bill Gates. File picture.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates called on Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at his residence here and discussed technology-driven farmer empowerment initiatives.

Gates, who arrived here on Tuesday, held discussions with the chief minister about various state government initiatives.

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"Pleasure meeting @Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Mr @BillGates. Had a wonderful discussion on our technology-driven farmer empowerment initiatives, several welfare initiatives like #JagaMission, #MissionShakti, #OdishaSchoolTransformation, #BSKY and healthcare transformation," Patnaik said on X.

He appreciated the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting innovation in extending inclusive benefits to the people.

"Thanked him for his praise for Odisha's welfare initiatives and success in different sectors through #5T transformative governance," he added.

In the morning, he visited a slum in Bhubaneswar and interacted with the residents.

He visited the Biju Adarsh Colony in the Maa Mangla Basti along with state government officials.

Besides enquiring about the well-being of the residents of the slum, Gates also interacted with members of women's self-help groups (SHGs).

State Development Commissioner Anu Garg said, "We have shown him that the slum dwellers have got land rights, tap water connections, toilets and power supply. He expressed happiness over the transformation of the slum area into a model colony." State Urban Development Secretary G Mathi Vathanan said that Gates spoke to the beneficiaries of different welfare schemes of the government.

A resident of the colony said that the philanthropist interacted with them and asked about the changes in their lifestyle as a result of the schemes.

"He asked us about how we were living earlier and our present status," she said.

Later, he visited Krushi Bhawan, the headquarters of the state agriculture and farmers' empowerment department.

The state has been partnering with the Foundation since 2017 to forward shared goals around improving farmers' income, nutrition security, and climate resilience in the state.

"This partnership has allowed the state to emerge as a leader in digital public infrastructure, with the government launching key farmer-centric systems including the Krushak Odisha database, GO-SUGAM portal, and Ama Krushi extension system," a senior official said.

With strategic support from the Foundation, the government has also been able to complete successful pilots surrounding crop diversification through the Maize Mandi and agriculture production cluster (APC) projects. These initiatives have now been scaled up across the state, Arabinda Kumar Padhee, principal secretary of the agriculture and farmers' empowerment department, said.

The forward-looking roadmap for digital agriculture in the state was also discussed with the focus being on Odisha emerging as one of the first states to implement an end-to-end technology stack in agriculture, livestock, and fisheries, he said.

Gates interacted with two successful women farmers in the state who have increased their incomes through the digital public infrastructure set up by the department.

Padhee said he gave an overview of the success story of Odisha Millets Mission, with an emphasis on how it is improving the livelihood of tribal communities in the state.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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