NITI Aayog member bats for agri growth

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Karnal, Prof Ramesh Chand, a member of the NITI Aayog, on Thursday emphasised on the agricultural development for the economic growth of the country, and said agriculture and allied sectors provided employment to around half of the workforce and contributed 17 per cent to the national income.

“The agriculture is at the centre of Prime Minister’s dream of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ and ‘New India 2022’,” he said at the inaugural session of a three-day conference on “Agriculture and sustainable development goals”.

The event is being organised at National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI).

“Among 10 major sectors of the Indian economy, the contribution of agriculture is the highest — in employment as well as in value-added output,” Prof Chand said.

He pointed out that the agriculture sector had not been witnessing a growth, which continued to fluctuate around three per cent as compared with seven to nine per cent of the non-farming sector since the liberalisation of the economy in the early 1990s. “Consequently, the gap between the income of a farmer and a non-farming worker further increased in this period.”

He suggested innovative measures to deal with the deficiency of the farm sector and to enhance the agriculture growth. Some of his measures were market reforms, contract farming, changes in the minimum support price system, alternative mechanism of subsidy distribution, corporate investment in agriculture, increase in food processing and scaling up of success stories of innovative farmers.

He exhorted scientists to work on these areas for doubling the income of farmers by 2022.

RRB Singh, Director, NDRI, said investing in the agricultural sector could address not only hunger and malnutrition, but also other challenges such as poverty, water and energy use, climate change, and unsustainable production and consumption.

Source : Tribune News Service

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