Retail expansion not at the cost of the farmers interest

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New Delhi, Dec 18 (UNI) Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh today said retail expansion in the country should not be executed with the farmers' becoming a casualty in the process.

''I fully support this retail boom. Big corporate houses should definitely go for growth of this sector but they should make sure that farmers are given due importance,'' Dr Singh said at a conference on 'Winning with Intelligent Supply Chains' organised by FICCI.

Elaborating on the massive programme undertaken by the government under 'Bharat Nirman' through the provision of rural roads, housing, drinking water and electrification, the Minister said, these were essential elements in providing connectivity to the rural areas and raising farm incomes in the long term.

In this context, he asked top corporates in the organised retail sector to establish linkages between the farmer and the market so that rural artisans produce items of quality and design desired by the urban consumers.

''Come up with workable models and the government will fully support your endeavours,'' he said.

Ficci Retail Committee Chairman and Bharti Enterprises Chairman Rajan Bharti Mittal said, ''the projected growth of 25 per cent to 30 per cent in the organised retail sector would fructify only if the local traders are linked to the buyers. This requires massive efforts on the part of the stakeholders and enormous amounts of capital to beef up the supply chain infrastructure.'' He urged for according 'infrastructure status' to the supply chain management sector and tax breaks to incentivise investments in the area.

UNI

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