Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Friday called for higher growth rate in agriculture, saying the sector was key to the growth of India's economy.
"Our manufacturing and services are growing into double digits but agriculture is not growing. The agriculture sector is the key to India's economic growth," he said at a ceremony to sign an agreement between the governments of India and Andhra Pradesh and the World Bank for restoration of water tanks in the southern state.
He said judicious use of water resources was key to the growth in agriculture and hoped that empowering water users under the scheme would ensure judicious management of water resources.
Chidambaram also allayed apprehensions over borrowings from the World Bank and said it was happy to lend to India.
"Money is not a problem. World Bank was founded by India and other countries. World Bank is there to borrow money from it. If not India and other countries, who will borrow from it," he asked.
"There is no problem in borrowing money from the World Bank as long as it is used wisely and efficiently without leakages and to create assets and the money is repaid."
The finance minister said the World Bank was happy to lend to states like Andhra Pradesh, which were active in implementing the projects effectively and efficiently.
He was responding to remarks made by Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy during his speech.
"When we approached the World Bank, some political parties expressed apprehensions that we are bartering the interests of the common man and by accepting their conditions making life miserable for the common man," said the chief minister.
He said the suggestions of the World Bank were only aimed at making the projects sustainable and there was nothing wrong in implementing them.