NITI Aayog member Prof. Ramesh Chand has said that without the rapid growth rate of agriculture sector, it will be difficult to achieve the goal of developed India. He said that India is moving forward with two goals – to make India developed and to take everyone along in this development. He said this as the keynote speaker while inaugurating the Rural Voice Agriculture Conclave 2023.
The annual event, organized at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, was organized on December 23, the foundation day of Rural Voice.
Addressing the well-attended program, Prof. Chand said that to become a developed India, there should be a growth rate of 7 to 8 percent for the next 24-25 years. Then our income will become so much that we will be able to be called a developed country. According to the World Bank, if the per capita income of a country reaches 12000 dollars i.e. 10 lakh rupees per person, then it has become a developed country.
Currently our per capita income is around Rs 1,70,000. It will have to increase 6 to 7 times in the next 24 years. The country has decided to adopt this path of development. All policies will be made around it so that the desired growth rate is achieved and everyone participates in it.
He said that to achieve this much growth, everyone will have to be included in it, be it agriculture or industry. In this, the responsibility of agriculture increases. 18-20 percent of the country's income comes from agriculture. If it does not grow at the rate of 3.5 to 4% then it will become almost impossible to become a developed India by 2047. We cannot become a developed India without achieving high growth rate in agriculture, he said.
He said that India has been an agricultural country and it will play a big role in India's development in future also. Even if we become a developed India by ignoring the agriculture sector, it will not be inclusive development. There is no reason why agriculture cannot play the role it should play in developing the country, but for that we will have to change our mind set. "First of all, we should change our thoughts towards agriculture from negative to positive," he advised.
In many states, the growth rate of agriculture is so high that even industry is not growing at the same level. The growth of agriculture is more than 6% in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh. If three or four states can achieve 6 to 7% agricultural growth rate, then can't the rest of the country achieve the same agricultural growth rate by adopting their policies? If we try in the right way, agriculture can definitely become the engine of our economic development.
Prof Chand said that village development means inclusive development. He suggested the young generation to read the book on joint farming by former Prime Minister and farmer leader Chaudhary Charan Singh. He said, Chaudhary Charan Singh had said that farmers are more connected to the land than their children. The relationship with the land is that of mother and son. The young generation should read this book. This book reveals the foresight of Chaudhary Charan Singh.
This shows how he viewed agriculture and the rural system. His words are relevant even today. Rural Voice plays an important role in policy advocacy and development of farmers.
He said that digital media is a very effective medium today because through it, it is very easy to reach the policy makers i.e. governments along with providing important information to the farmers. There are limitless possibilities in digital medium. Rural Voice is playing a very important role in this direction.
According to Prof Chand, Rural Voice is also playing important role in policy advocacy. It not only expresses its views openly on agricultural issues. Rather, it is making important efforts in the direction of policy advocacy. On this occasion, he also said that there is a need to change the perspective of both farmers and private sector regarding agriculture sector.
According to him, the corporate world should not consider the farmer as a mere consumer, but should work with him to set a new standard of development. Giving the example of Jalgaon district of Maharashtra, he said that a private company and farmers together made Jalgaon the 5th highest banana producing area in the world.
Inaugurating the program, Harveer Singh, Editor in Chief of Rural Voice, said that three years ago we started Rural Voice as a new thinking for agriculture and rural India. Mahatma Gandhi had said that India lives in villages. Former Prime Minister of the country Chaudhary Charan Singh said that the path to the prosperity of the country passes through the villages. Today is also the birthday of Chaudhary Charan Singh which is celebrated as Farmer's Day. We chose this day to establish Rural Voice which is also an inspiring day for us.
He said that India is moving towards becoming a five trillion dollar economy, but in the ups and downs of this wave of economic progress, villages and rural populations are being left behind. To take forward the idea of how to reduce this gap, we started publishing 'Rural World' in November this year.
Latest figures say that 45.8 percent of the working people in India still work in agriculture and allied sectors. In such a situation, a new formula will have to be found for India.
The path to India becoming a developed nation will be through the policy of agriculture-centric economy, but this path is not easy. In view of this, we have kept the main theme of Rural Voice Agriculture Conclave 2023 as Making Agriculture Engine of Economic Growth, he added.