Govt should re-orient policies in favour of agriculture: LS

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New Delhi, Nov 28 (UNI) Cutting across party lines, members of the Lok Sabha today expressed dissatifcation that the benefits of high growth were not percolating to the common man and asked the government to shift policies to promote agriculture, rural areas and improve the lot of the poor.

There was a demand for lowering interest rate for the farming community, providing improved quality of seeds, bringing more area under cultivation by developing infertile lands and ensuring that imports do not hit domestic producers.

Participating in the debate for Demands for Excess Grants (General) for 2007-08, K S Rao (Cong) said the economy was in good health, registering a hefty nine per cent growth, inflation being brought under control, high investor interest, burgeoning foreign exchange reserves and buoyant tax revenues.

He, however, said agricultural growth needed to be stepped up from 2 to 2.3 per cent to nearly four per cent to ensure sustainability of GDP growth.

P Karunakaran (CPI(M)) said the prices of cash crops had crashed due to liberal and cheap imports, hitting the producers of these commodities most of whom were from Kerala. Rubber was an exception in this regard, but prices of pepper, coconut oil, ariconut, tea and coffee producers had plummeted.

He said that in recent years, there had been no fresh investment in the public sector in the State and made out a case for taking up projects having high employability.

Ramjilal Summan (SP) said the government was coming forth for the second time after the presentation of the Budget for Supplementary Demands of Grants. This was indicative that Budget formulation was not based on correct assumptions.

M Shivanna (JD (S)) said government's policies were only paying a lip service to the farming community without doing much to improve the lot of the farmers.

He said infrastructure relating to agriculture needed to be improved as also the inputs which go into it needed to be made available at cheaper prices and higher quality.

UNI

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