New policy must for increased employment: PM

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Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Dec 15: Creative thinking and new policies are needed so that non-farm employment rises as decline in the share of agriculture in national income becomes evident, said Prime Minister Manmohab Singh today.

''Our agricultural economy cannot continue to provide livelihood to over two-thirds of our population. Along with the decline in the share of agriculture in national income, there must be a decline in its share in employment, said Dr Singh. Non-farm employment must increase and we need policies that can and will help to promote that outcome, he added.

Addressing the golden jubliee celebration at the Institute of Economic Growth today, Dr Singh said he found inadequate creative thinking on how we can address some of these challenges.

He said the debate on 'State vs Market' addresses the issues of imbalance and inequity only up to a point.

''I would say, moving from one strait-jacket into another, from the ideology of the 'State' to that of the 'Market', may also not help, especially while addressing these problems,'' he said.

Stating that India began to look at 'mixed economy' models which regrettably became the 'mixed up economy, Dr Singh said our experiences of the past should not discourage us from once again looking at a 'Middle Path'.

The Middle Path should be such that it ''combines the efficiency considerations of the market with the equity considerations of a liberal polity.'' He also talked about balancing the scales between agriculture and industry. ''In the early years of planning, there was a debate between the importance of agriculture and industrialisation. I do not think we can any longer pose the issue as agriculture vs industry. We need a strategy for 'agriculture and industry', for 'rural and urban', for 'town and country' to use the language of classical political economy,'' said Dr Singh.

He also added that the development path must be environmentally sustainable and that more systematic attention should be paid to issues related to energy security.

''All of this requires a constant renewal of our commitment to economic reform and to hard work,'' said Dr Singh.


UNI

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