Govt investing in agri infrastructure most: Sitharaman

NEW DELHI, Oct 28:
The Narendra Modi-led Government is investing in infrastructure, especially in the agriculture sector to boost exports of farm produce, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
She said infrastructure spending has been at the top of government priorities to ensure that the country’s surplus grains, fruits and vegetables are ready for export.
“We are attracting a lot of funds to which the spend on infrastructure is the top priority,” she said at an event here. The infrastructure investment, she said, was mainly aimed at boosting agricultural exports through connectivity to ports and the infrastructure needed for food processing as well as cold chains.
The Minister was speaking at the India Energy Forum of CERAWeek on Tuesday. The Government has initiated farm sector reforms and also launched a Agri-export policy to harness the export potential of the sector. Prime Minister Modi earlier this month said India’s agricultural exports rose 23 per cent during March and June in spite of the stringent lockdown.
Sitharaman exuded confidence that a sustainable recovery is underway in the Indian economy that has been contracting for months. The economy contracted a massive 23.9 per cent in the first quarter of current fiscal (April-June).
The International Monetary Fund has pegged India’s GDP to shrink 10.3 per cent this fiscal and would rebound and log 8.8 per cent growth in the next financial year. Sitharaman said with unlocking, economic activities have gathered pace and a sustainable recovery would take place in the third and fourth quarter.
“The indicators show that the primary sector and related sectors of agriculture and rural India are doing very well as a result, the demand for durables, agricultural equipment, tractors, vehicles are all going up.”
The Minister said the festival season has begun and a result of which she expects the demand to go up and therefore, be stable and sustainable. (UNI)