Special Correspondent

MUMBAI: Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday asked the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to reposition itself to take the microfinance movement to farm and non-farm sectors of the rural economy. He urged the bank to offer its services as consultant to State governments to draw up district-specific and State-specific plans.

“A structural change is under way in the rural economy. It has been estimated that 36 per cent of the rural income arises from non-agricultural activities. While agriculture will remain the mainstay of the rural economy, we need to look beyond agriculture for increasing livelihood opportunities. Emphasis need to be laid on building skills and linkages and providing the necessary infrastructural support and venture capital to entrepreneurs,” Mr. Chidambaram said while delivering the key note address at the silver jubilee celebrations of NABARD.