Updated: February 20, 2021 11:18:24 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday said farmers need better infrastructure and modern technology for which reforms and investment are very important. Speaking at the 6th meeting of Governing Council of NITI Aayog, he said many commodities such as vegetable oils that India imports in large quantities can be locally produced and farm sector can become a large exporter in many products. He urged states to prepare their agro climatic regional planning strategies, which would help farmers.
“Our agriculture sector is full of opportunities but still there are some truths we need to accept. We may be called a krishi pradhan desh (agriculture-based country) but despite that we import vegetable oil worth Rs 65,000-70,000 crore. We can stop this, this money can go to our farmers. Our farmer is the claimant of this money. But this can be stopped and our farmers can produce many such products not only for our country but supply to the world. But this would require us to form policies in that direction,” he said in his opening remarks at the meeting being attended by state governments.
Building storage or processing capacities in in agriculture sector is very important, for which we need to promote investment, he said. “Our farmers need necessary economic support, better infrastructure, modern technology for which reforms are very important. Recently, many such reforms have been done which reduce regulation, and minimise intervention of the government,” he said.
Arguing that the central government has recently eliminated more than 1500 laws to minimise policy intervention, he argued that states should also reduce compliance burden for our citizens for Ease of Living. Stressing that the export potential in the agriculture sector is vast, he argued that many coastal states can promote export of processed fish at a large scale and many such products can be exported.
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Modi said there is a need for competitive, cooperative federalism not only among states but also districts so that development remains a prime theme. He said that the agenda points for today discussions have been shortlisted keeping in top priorities of country in mind. The agenda of the meeting includes deliberations on agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing, human resource development, service delivery at grassroots level and health and nutrition.
“In the Covid period, we saw how Centre and states came together to work, the nation succeeded and a good image of India was built before the entire world. Friends, today, as we complete 75 years of independence, this governing council meet becomes even more significant,” he said. He asked state governments to take advantage of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to attract maximum possible investments. He said the recent Budget has created a positive momentum towards growth and the spending on infrastructure sector will help economy at many levels in creating a multiplier effect and boosting employment opportunities.
“The kind of positive response received for this year’s Budget has expressed the mood of the nation. The country has made up its mind that it wants to progress rapidly and the country doesn’t want to lose time now. The youth is playing a major role in setting the mood of the nation,” he said. Modi also stressed the need to need to strengthen MSMEs and startups and urged state governments to shortlist local products in various districts that can be promoted.
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