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M A I N   N E W S

Big I-Day deal for farmers
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

PM’s promises

  • Increase in public spending on education, health care, agriculture and rural development.
  • Old-age pension scheme for senior citizens above 65 years and below poverty line.
  • As many as 6,000 good quality government-funded schools to be set up.
  • Centre to help states set up colleges in 370 districts.
  • 30 new central universities.
  • National campaign for cleanliness.

New Delhi, August 15
In a move to usher in inclusive economic growth, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced that the government would increase farm spending by Rs 25,000 crore to enhance the livelihood of farmers and increase food production.

“Farmers are the backbone of our nation. Unless they prosper, the nation cannot prosper. I reassure our farmers that their welfare lies at the core of all our concerns,” he said in his address to the nation on the 61st Independence Day.

“I am confident as we roll out our ambitious agricultural development programme, we will see a boost in foodgrain production in the country, particularly in regions untouched by the Green Revolution,” Manmohan Singh said.

The Prime Minister wants to boost the output from farming, the sole employment for about 235 million people, by 4 per cent this financial year, from an estimated 2.73 per cent in the year ended March 31.

India clocked its first double-digit growth of 10.5 per cent in 1988-89, fuelled by the highest ever rate achieved by the agriculture sector at 15.4 per cent. In 2006-07, the economy clocked 9.4 per cent growth, despite poor performance by the agricultural sector. The Approach Paper to the 11th Plan has proposed to push GDP growth rate to 10 per cent by 2012. “The transformation of rural India that we seek, and the progress we seek, are not possible unless we increase the productivity of our farms and the income of our farmers,” he said.

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