Focus on creating new jobs in rural India

The Agriculture Ministry is likely to get a high profile in the Narendra Modi government’s economic revival and rural jobs agenda.

“Agriculture will be one of the most important Ministries for the new government,” a senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader told The Hindu on Thursday. “Mr. Modi will focus on building agriculture as an industry and will free up exports of dairy products and foodgrains, etc., with full back-end support for cold storage as there is no other real way creating jobs in rural India.”

The source said dairy and other allied farm-related activities would receive a big push too.

The new government was looking to “globalise” India’s agriculture, the BJP source said. “Given that the prices of rice and milk and other farm sector produce in the global market is several times that in India, Mr. Modi would like to give a big push to agricultural exports, for which output of the sector will have to expand fast,” he said.

Back-end support for the agriculture sector — cold-storage and packaging and processing — would be developed across the country, the source added. Developing the farm sector was also important for creating jobs in rural India and arresting migration from villages.

The bulk of India’s population resides in the countryside and would likely find non-farm jobs, such as in the industrial sector, somewhat alien, the source said.

Mr. Modi will take the oath of office on May 26 along with his possible Cabinet colleagues.

Senior BJP leaders who are also likely to be key ministers in Mr. Modi’s Cabinet have been meeting with bureaucrats for ideas pertaining to the various aspects of the economic revival agenda. The first such meeting was held in April, right after the conclusion of the first and second phase of polling when some opinion polls showed the BJP and NDA were ahead.

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