President Pranab Mukherjee has called on Industry to support the government's programmes such as Digital India, 'Make in India', adoption of model villages and other socio-economic programmes to achieve the goal of economic growth with employment.
He said these programmes, if implemented in their true spirit, will lead to an ''outpouring'' of socio-economic benefits, including greater livelihood opportunities, thereby lifting the pressure off the farm sector and improving productivity.
Speaking at the Assocham Summit on Livelihood Security of India in New Delhi today, the President said the recent measures on financial inclusion, connecting India with digital revolution, adoption of model villages by legislators and Make-In-India manufacturing push are ''determined efforts'' of the government, which ''will lead our economy to be a manufacturing hub of low-cost but high quality products''.
The President said he has ''great hopes from the government's investor-friendly programmes.''
''To lift the pressure off the farm sector, more jobs in the non-farm sector are required to be created through a paradigm shift from primary to secondary agriculture. The food processing sector provides a window, linking industry with agriculture and generating jobs in rural areas and small townships. Developing this sunrise sector calls for greater investment in infrastructure like cold chains, handling, packaging and transportation,'' he pointed out.
He pointed to the recently-launched measures aimed at emancipation of the poor and the neglected such as the 'Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana', under which villages will be adopted for provision of improved basic amenities and greater access to rights and entitlements. They will be converted into model villages for replication elsewhere.
''The 'Digital India' programme envisages wide-spread availability of e-infrastructure to make our country a digitally-empowered society and knowledge economy,'' he said.
''Similarly, the financial inclusion programme will cover all habitations with banking facilities and provide all households bank accounts, RuPay cards, financial literacy, micro-insurance and unorganised sector pension. I am confident that these determined efforts will lead to an outpouring of socio-economic benefits including greater livelihood opportunities,'' he added.
While India's demographic dynamism will position the country as the largest supplier of workforce in the world in another decade, ''we have to equip them with capacity and expertise to make this impending demographic dividend count. A skilled working population at par with the best in the world can reap dividends like none other''.
The President said while the high incidence of poverty of over 60 per cent that prevailed six decades ago have come down to below 30 per cent now, ''our goal now is poverty elimination, not merely 'poverty alleviation'. The poor have to be the first claimants, and hence, the focal point of development activity''.
Emphasising the need for job creation for poverty alleviation, Mukherjee said, ''To wipe out the curse of poverty, the most potent tool is job creation. Policies and programmes aimed at generating employment have to concentrate on the specific needs of this vulnerable segment''.
The President also underlined the crucial role of agriculture in India's economy and on the lives of people. ''A sound agricultural system is indispensable for attaining a host of objectives like poverty eradication, food adequacy, nutritional security, expansion in rural employment and higher rural incomes''.
Since the occupational security for an incredibly large number of rural households still hinges on agriculture, he said the focus has to be on innovations for low-cost technologies, machines and tools to transform subsistence farming into a viable and rewarding profession.
''Our challenge has to be in reaching out to the last farmland and equipping them with best practices in cultivation. Our efforts have to be directed at raising the low level of farm productivity in order to enhance farmer remuneration.''