To speed up development in the rural areas and remove poverty

President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday underlined the need to forge a link between the corporate world and the agriculture sector to speed up the development process in the rural areas and remove poverty.

“A transparent farmer-industry partnership where farmers retain confidence about the ownership of their land and protection of their interest is the key to rural transformation,” she said, while inaugurating the three-day international conference on 'Dynamics of Rural Transformation in Emerging Economies' organised jointly by Planning Commission of India and Institute of Human Development.

Ms. Patil said the location of food processing and other agro-based industries close to rural areas would optimise benefits for both the business persons and farmers. Farming models that include participation of industry could be developed to achieve economies of scale and promote socio-economic development, she added.

Mentioning the role of agriculture in raising incomes of the poor, the President said the sector itself needs to grow in order to realise its full potential as a promoter of growth and as an alleviator of poverty. She also pointed to the need for radical changes in the conventional methods of farming for enhancing productivity.

“A fairer WTO trade regime for agriculture products will positively impact the rural transformation efforts of emerging economies,” she said.

Ms. Patil also stressed the need to assure women of greater financial security. About the government's efforts to reduce rural migration, she said, “To prevent desperate migration to cities, our effort is to reinforce the rural infrastructure. Rural transformation will be critically dependent on human development.”

Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj C.P. Joshi said there was a need for such learning in India which makes a person competent to undertake a vast array of jobs. Pointing to the challenges in rural development, he said: “We have to think innovatively and evolve a new method of supportive development.”

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