Call for steps to link agriculture, manufacturing sectors for growth

Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: The former chairman of the Divestment Commission and the Securities and Exchange Board of India, G.V. Ramakrishna, has called for steps to establish strong links between the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

A symbiotic relationship between these key sectors is needed as the services sector cannot continue to drive the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for long, he told a meeting on the `role of industry in development of south India,' organised here on Saturday by the Madras Management Association (MMA) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF).

Stressing the need for a change in the GDP growth composition, he said the focus should be on improving the yield of land and increasing the labour productivity. The manufacturing sector's contribution to the GDP, at a stagnant 15 per cent, "is a cause for worry." Adequate attention should be paid to the sector to create more jobs. "We should pay adequate attention to the manufacturing sector ... then it should be attuned to the agriculture growth," Mr. Ramakrishna said. One of the priorities should be to attract more foreign direct investment in manufacturing.

He said the energy sector was another area that required greater attention. The emphasis should be on generating more power from coal, especially by permitting commercial production from the coalmines. Unless commercial production was allowed to improve efficiency, the country, despite having the fourth largest coal reserves in the world, might import 100 million tonnes by 2012, said Mr. Ramakrishna, who also served as secretary of the Coal Ministry.

V. Balaraman, chief executive officer and managing director, Adrenalin E-Systems Limited, said that compared to the developed countries, the productivity and wage levels in the agriculture sector were low. The role of Indian industry was, therefore, to offer those engaged in agriculture better quality employment. The industry should also promote social development.

Joerg Wolff, KAF resident representative to India, said the private sector should spearhead policy reforms and participate in infrastructure development and resurgence of agriculture. MMA president D.P. Padmanabhan spoke.