“Make farming “viable” to stop exodus from agri sector”

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New Delhi, Mar 26 (PTI), Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu Monday said in a country like India everybody can not be given employment notwithstanding promises by political parties and noted it is disturbing to see people leaving the agriculture sector in large numbers.

He said it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to make agriculture a “viable” profession and maintained loan waivers and free power are not a permanent solution to farm distress.

Naidu was speaking at the convocation ceremony of the Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Cooperative Management here.

“In the country, people are leaving agriculture and this is a very disturbing trend. In a country like India with a huge population, we cannot sustain on imported technologies and we can not import everything so we need to have homegrown food security,” said Naidu.

He called for boosting rural connectivity and infrastructure.

“We need to focus on infrastructure such as good roads, connectivity in rural areas because unless there is connectivity to rural areas, there will not be any development,” Naidu said.

The vice-president said loan waivers and free power are not a permanent solution to problems in the farm sector.

“What is required is getting a reasonable price for their farm produce…providing them market information, provide them godowns, cold storage and affordable and adequate credit,” Naidu said.

He urged the youth to tap the numerous opportunities available in agriculture, especially, in the field of agribusiness and dairy entrepreneurship and become the change agents in making farming a profitable enterprise.

Raising the issue of migration to urban areas from villages, Naidu said Parliament, politicians, press and NITI Aayog should focus on all-round development to bridge the rural-urban divide.

“There is no doubt India is moving forward as international agencies like World Bank, World Economic Forum, International Monetary Fund, Moody’s Ratings and everybody is saying India is on the move and the world is looking at India and future is ours,” he added.

He said while the world economy is going down and China’s economy is expanding at 6.8 per cent, India, according to all international agencies, is moving ahead with 7.1-7.4 per cent growth rate.

“If we go ahead with this pace, with all the stakeholders putting their efforts together and keeping development as their main agenda, India will become one of the largest economies in the world,” he said.

Talking about the cooperative sector, Naidu said its unfortunate that the segment has received a setback because politics has entered the cooperative movement.

“It is not good…politics should not come in the way of the cooperative movement,” he added.

He said cooperative societies play a crucial role in strengthening the rural economy and ensuring socio-economic development and inclusive growth.

“The cooperative movement acts as an enabler to unify local human resources and channelise energies for the growth of rural India.

“The Indian cooperative movement, the world’s largest, has its own inherent strength and weaknesses. With more than 8 lakh cooperatives, they have a significant presence in all the areas of socio-economic activities,” he said.

The vice-president said at grassroots level, the cooperative sector has a big role to play in bridging the urban-rural divide and creating opportunities for income generation.

“I am happy your institution is helping cooperatives in decision-making skills and administrative competence through the Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) and Post Graduate Diploma in Cooperative Business Management (PGDCBM) programmes,” Naidu said.

“In a country like India, everybody can not be given employment. Political parties can promise, but you know what is the reality.

“We must get our skills upgrade so that we are able to stand and come up with some out-of-the-box ideas,” he said.

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