M A I N   N E W S

Agri sector deserves best of civil servants: PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 21
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called for strengthening the rural economy and asked the states to pay more attention to agriculture, terming it a “vital sector” of the economy. “The agriculture sector deserves the best and the brightest of our civil servants,” he said addressing bureaucrats on the occasion of Civil Services Day.

Emphasising for the need to build the momentum achieved during the 11th Plan when the country achieved a record agricultural growth, he asked states to pay greater attention to “this vital sector of our economy, especially in the areas of agricultural research and extension services and selection of officers in their agriculture departments”.

Speaking on benefits of the direct cash transfer scheme, he said it would not only help in better targeting of subsidies and reducing delay in delivery of benefits, but also curb wastage and leakages. “Programmes like the direct benefits scheme also give a sense of empowerment to our people, increase their faith in the processes of governance and, therefore, have a far larger positive effect than can be measured by the direct advantages they confer,” he said.

The PM also stressed on the need to make concerted efforts for developing skills among youths in both rural and urban areas thereby enabling them to gain productive employment. However, with economic growth, there will be a large movement of people from rural to urban areas. Management of urbanisation would, therefore, require much greater attention from the planners. “It is estimated that in 20 years, nearly 50 per cent of our population will be living in urban areas,” he added.

He also expressed concerns over ways to tackle natural disasters. “Owing to its peculiar geo-climatic conditions, our country has always been vulnerable to natural disasters such as floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes and landslides. Climate change is likely to further accentuate the frequency and intensity of these natural disasters. Moreover, unsafe building practices in rapidly growing urban settlements also constitute a major challenge for those charged with the responsibility of managing disasters. Handling disasters requires a multi-disciplinary approach and specialised skills acquired over a long period of time,” he said.





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