Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday asserted that his government had delivered on its promise of a new deal for rural India over the last four years that would transform the lives of people in the years to come.
“These initiatives would bear fruit in the medium to long term,” Singh said, counting the growth rate of 4.7 per cent in agriculture during the last three years — nearly double that of the previous six years — as a tribute to Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s leadership.
“Our overall approach to rural development and agrarian challenge is based on our understanding that we must end forever this unacceptable gap between India and Bharat,” the PM, said at a book release function here on Thursday evening.
Singh released the book, Fast Forward, a compilation of Sharad Pawar’s speeches and interviews, at the function and counted Pawar as one of the few Indian politicians who had their feet firmly on the ground and whose mind looks ahead and is open to new ideas, new challenges and new opportunities.
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, who described the Maharashtra strongman as his mentor — also quoted from the PM’s foreword to the book. Singh recalled telling Pawar that if India could replicate the experience in Baramati — Pawar’s hometown — across the country with some improvements, “we would be in a position to wipe out poverty”.