Special Correspondent

Kerala planning board official for more support to farm sector

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala State Planning Board Vice-Chairman Prabhat Patnaik has said that debt relief packages such as the `Vidharbha Package' are only partial solutions to the agrarian crisis and that real solutions lay in increasing investment and employment opportunities in the farm sector and in traditional industries.

Delivering a lecture on `New economic policies and Kerala,' to mark the death anniversary of CPI ideologue N.E. Balaram here on Sunday, Prof. Patnaik said debt relief by itself could not solve the agrarian crisis as there was every possibility of farmers getting thrown back into debt. The effort, he said, should rather be to address the negative fallout of exposure of farmers to the global market and import of agrarian crisis.

Prof. Patnaik also came down heavily on the Planning Commission projects relating to the 11th Five Year Plan and said that even a 12 per cent growth in the manufacturing sector, as projected in the document, would not help solve the crisis in the Indian economy as that would not result in higher demand for labour. The situation was one of high growth being accompanied by massive deprivation. The basic strategy to counter the situation is to provide support for petty production in agriculture and traditional industries, he said.

The Planning Board Vice-Chairman also took a dig at those who, he said, appeared to have mistaken joint sector ventures for Public-Private Partnership mooted in the Planning Commission document. International financial capital, besides being speculative in nature, also tended to enfeeble nation states by introducing the concept of Public-Private Partnership. "It has nothing to do with joint sector projects. It is a new philosophy of the World Bank and says that the private sector must have a role in different sectors of economy," Prof. Patnaik said.

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