New Delhi, Jan 15: The NDA government is according priority to the farm sector by allocating large funds for its growth and is no way promoting only the industry, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said here today.
"Since day one, the government's prime focus has been agriculture. Had priority not been given to this sector, the government would have not sanctioned higher funds for rainfed areas, established more institutions and central varsities," Singh said when asked whether the current government's focus has been more on industries and not on the agriculture sector.
Speaking on the topic: "Challenges and way out to achieve agriculture growth of 8 per cent" at an Assocham event, Singh said, "while some states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have achieved more than eight per cent annual agri-growth in the last few years, the Centre is taking measures to ensure other states too achieve such levels."
Higher growth in agriculture is possible if bottlenecks are addressed and "more measures would be outlined in the coming Budget" towards this direction, he added. Amid constraints to expand water and land resources for agriculture in the country, the Minister said the government has approved Rs 568.54 crore to issue soil health cards to over 14 crore farmers in the next three years.
To ensure ample supply of water to farm land, he said the Centre has finalised the "Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PM irrigation scheme)" and mostly likely would be launched this month. The government has also set aside funds for improving agriculture marketing and focus would be on setting up e-marketing at mandi levels and also set up buffer stock of horticulture produce to check price rise, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Agriculture, Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya, said that "the agriculture is the growth engine of the overall economy" as more than 50 per cent of the population depend on farm and other allied activities. A major push is being given to issue soil health cards to farmers so that they are aware of the quality of soil and use right fertilisers.
"This will not only reduce their cost on fertiliser but also enhance crop productivity," he added. Inviting industry players to invest in his state, Bihar Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh said: "Not to worry, the law and order situation has improved in the state. We will give land, electricity and all other facilities to help you establish here."