Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that boosting farm sector growth was among the top priorities of the government as he started formal consultations with various interest groups ahead of the budget for 2014-15.
Jaitley will meet industry leaders on Friday.
“Though agriculture and its allied sector employs largest numbers of people in the country yet its share in the GDP has contracted over the years,” a finance ministry statement said after the meeting. “He said that the concerns of agriculture sector are high on the priority of the government. Despite the constraints of the economy as it exists today, the Government will try its best to boost this sector.”
Along with the finance minister, the meeting was attended by minister of state for finance and corporate affairs minister Nirmala Sitharaman, finance secretary Arvind Mayaram, expenditure secretary Ratan P Watal, revenue secretary Rajiv Takru, secretary at ministry of agriculture and cooperation Ashish Bahuguna, and other senior officers of the finance ministry among others.
“Major suggestions include establishing a Kissan TV channel to create awareness among farmers about new technologies, government programmes and quality parameters etc among others. Other suggestions included timely decision on ‘minimum support price’ at cost of production plus 50%, timely and efficient procurement policy, priority for mechanisation in all commodities and setting-up of commodity- wise board,” the statement said.
The government is pinning its hopes on the strong summer rains this year to aid a much-needed turnaround in the Indian economy. India’s agriculture output grew 4.7% during 2013-14, up from 1.4% in the previous year.