Agriculture still driving Indian economy: Rajashekar Reddy

HYDERABAD: agriculture and food security continue to be the driving force of the Indian economy. The country’s largest employment sector is still agriculture and the food industry has become a vital factor in the gross domestic product (GDP).

These observations were made by Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy while interacting with the director of Food and Agri Business School (FABS) who called on him here today to invite him to be the chief guest at the inauguration of the School and Sagar Institute of Technology.

The chief minister said sustainable growth in agriculture continued to be the core agenda of the Centre and the State. Agriculture and its allied sectors remain the mainstay for a sizable chunk of the State’s population in general and its labour force in particular. Ensuring food security and providing gainful employment to the labour force has been the essential premise of the planners and policymakers.’’ In addition to the subsidies being offered to this sector, raising farm incomes through crop diversification and encouraging alternative methods of farming may help improve the living standards of the large farming community in the State.

Achieving a growth rate in excess of 4 per cent in the agricultural sector during the 11th plan period appeared possible only if the farm income improved substantially and the excess labour in the sector could be shown an alternative yet gainful employment opportunities in the non-farm rural sector, Reddy said.

“Establishment of forward and backward linkages is an essential pre-requisite for accomplishing the desired goals. The production of foodgrains in the State for the first time since the formation of State was recorded at 204.04 lakh tonnes in 2008-09 as against 198.17 lakh tonnes in 2007-08, recording an increase of 2.96 percent.

Agricultural sector, therefore, needs experts in the field.’’ Rajasekhara Reddy said “We need institutions that train practising managers and students to become effective global leaders in food and agriculture business and allied sectors by learning innovative environment and extensive industry interaction through world-class infrastructure.

I am sure institutions like FABS will provide world-class platform for education, research and knowledge creation in food, agri business and allied sectors and to strive to transform agriculture from a way of life into an enterprise.’’ The chief minister hoped that with its world-class infrastructure, emphasis on research and development and technology application with a special focus on the agricultural sector, it will complement the efforts of the State Government in developing the agricultural sector and the State.

The chief minister consented to be the chief guest at the inauguration of FABS at the SVRR Educational Society Group of Institutions’ Flame of Forest Campus at Urella in Chevella mandal in Rangareddy district on Saturday. Union Minister for Urban Development S Jaipal Reddy will be the guest of honour.

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