Govt to ensure 4 per cent agri growth says Chidambaram

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New Delhi, Feb 8: In a reference to the CSO projection of sluggish growth of the agricultural sector this fiscal, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said the government will take all steps to ensure a four per cent growth of the sector on a sustained basis.

Speaking at a NABARD function here, Mr Chidambaram said the government was willing to set up a technology fund for the farm sector. The Finance Minister said no matter whatever be the external environment, it was possible through human intervention and adoption of relevant technology to achieve a sustained four per cent growth of the agricultural sector.

''First charge on our resources is for agriculture, so that it grows at 4 per cent or more for next 10-20 years,'' Mr Chidambaram said. Giving a sense of the priority the government accords to agriculture, Mr Chidambaram said, "everything can wait except agriculture." Referring to CSO's Advanced Estimates of GDP for the current year, Mr Chidambaram exuded confidence that growth figure for agriculture will be higher than that projected by Advances Estimates.

CSO Advanced Estimates released yesterday indicated that the agricultural sector was slated to grow at 2.6 per cent this year, against 3.8 per cent last year. Mr Chidambaram noted that the Agriculture Ministry has reported yesterday that maize and soyabean production would be at an all time high this year. The Finance Minister said this does not get reflected in Advance Estimates. "I am confident that final growth rate of agriculture would be better," he quipped.


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