Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged private sector to up their investments game in agriculture, noting that they have not invested enough and as much as they should have given its potential.
Addressing the 93rd Annual General Meeting of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) via video conferencing, Modi lamented that private sector has not “explored” enough the opportunities in agriculture and allied industries. “There are some companies doing good work in agriculture, but it is not enough. It is important that private sector show both interest and make investments in agriculture,” he said.
The Prime Minister suggested to the private sector that they should not lose the opportunity to invest in small towns and villages, which are going to be the pillars for India’s growth in 21st century.
Modi highlighted that there was ample scope for agri-based industries. He said that government is fully committed to protecting the interests of farmers and improving their welfare.
Industry bodies like FICCI must focus energies on achieving complementarities between agriculture, manufacture and services and act as a bridge them. Local value and supply chains should be strengthened and India should look to play a significant role in global supply chains, he said, adding that the country had both manpower and market besides capability to work on a mission mode to achieve strong outcomes.
Modi said that agriculture reforms are part of government’s efforts to remove hindrances and farmers are going to be the biggest beneficiaries of the agricultural reforms, which will give them access to new markets and technology.
Giving out the example of ethanol blending (up to 10 per cent) in petrol, Modi said this has encouraged production of ethanol in India and sugarcane farmers will greatly benefit from increased production of ethanol.
He said that agricultural reforms will break down the artificial barriers between agriculture and allied sectors such as food processing and cold chain infrastructure.
The Prime Minister’s latest remarks on agriculture reforms come even as farmers’ groups, especially those from Punjab, vowed to expand their protests across the country, increasing the pressure on the government to scrap its recent farm laws.
Modi also noted that India’s Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) has been recognised globally. Also, the unified payments interface (UPI) platform— which has been hailed globally as transformative —is now seeing transactions worth ₹4-lakh crore every month, and setting new record.
The Prime Minister said that India’s economic indicators now look encouraging and credit for the recovery goes to entrepreneurs, youth, farmers, industrialists and citizens.
He highlighted that India prioritised saving lives post-Covid breakout and the world is now seeing and recognising India’s efforts.
“ In the match of 20-20, we saw a lot of things changing rapidly. But the year 2020 baffled everyone. The nation and entire world saw a lot of ups and downs. When, we will think of Corona period a few years later, perhaps we won’t be able to believe it. It’s good that things are improving swiftly,” Modi said.