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Growth okay, let's not bypass Bharat

India cannot dream of marching forward leaving rural India behind. We need a Budget for Bharat, not one that by passes Bharat.

business Updated:

We are justifiably proud of the 9.2% growth that India’s economy has been posting. But Bharat’s economy, the economy of Rural India is languishing, with over 25,000 farmers having committed suicides since 1997, a decline in consumption for the 600 million people, decline in their food intake causing malnutrition and poor health.

India cannot dream of marching forward leaving Bharat (rural India) behind. We need a Budget for Bharat, not one that by passes Bharat.

Since Bharat contributes 25 per cent to our GDP, at least 25 per cent of our budget should be spent in Bharat. (currently it is only 5%). It needs to be spent on, construction of roads to connect Bharat villages to Indian cities and building lakhs of check dams, ponds, percolation tanks and wells to bring rainfed land under assured irrigation.

In addition, construction of food banks to save the one third of farm produce that is spoiled during storage, an agricultural college in every district to train a farmer to improve his farm productivity, help him to select proper seeds, take to organic farming and non traditional crops, floriculture, sericulture, horticulture, aquaculture, medicinal and aromatic plants.

The government should make Bharat into a giant Special Economic Zone. The Government should give interest subsidy to encourage banks to give loans to agribusiness at a low rate and with a moratorium; exempt rural area units from income tax, excise duty, vat and labour laws, crop Insurance.

First Published: Feb 24, 2007 02:02 IST