Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Wednesday said the agricultural sector has stood strong during the pandemic and there is a strong case for improvement in livelihoods and incomes of those who are engaged in agriculture. Noting that private investment is low, she also said that the government is working towards encouraging more private investment needed for capital formation.
“Our farmers have worked up against all odds and kept India at the highest in the league. So India’s future we have to understand cannot ignore the well-being of people engaged in these activities…that’s why the Prime Minister repeats that he wants to double the income of those people who are engaged in these activities. It has a very strong case, we owe it to them to improve their lives, improve their income and so on,” she said during a virtual talk on ‘India – Today and Tomorrow’ organised by Bengaluru-based Disha Bharat. While the farm sector employs nearly 50 per cent of workforce but contributes only 17.5 per cent to the GDP, she said.
Sitharaman also said that private investment as well as retail investment in markets is being encouraged. “We don’t have private investors coming in big way, capital available per head individual is very low…we are trying to encourage people to invest,” she said.
When asked about the future of the country post-pandemic, she said the biggest challenge would be to keep optimism high but India needs to be assertive, though not arrogant and need not underestimate by comparing itself with countries which are not democratic or unlike us. “We are not aggressors, we are contributors to the world at times of emergency and at times of calm,” she said.
She added: “We believe in the rule of law. Our courts, judicial process may take a long time but we still do everything to be a process of law. You can take any contentious issue. It is also in spite of any emotions and in spite of public, popular responses, and so on, it is through the process of law we achieve even the most contentious of issues … whether it is triple talaq, Ram Mandir, Ayodhya, every process, every such issue which would have been thought as being contentious has gone through the scrutiny of the courts and therefore, we as a country believe in the rule of the law, nothing is bypassed and everything is held up in the same spirit as is the spirit which is embedded in the Constitution,” she said.
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