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Pre-Budget meet's focus on jobs, agriculture

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Pre-Budget meet's focus on jobs, agriculture

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met experts from agricultural and allied sectors to take measures to boost economic and social infrastructure of the rural sector on Tuesday, during a pre-budget consultation on agricultural and rural development.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met experts from agricultural and allied sectors to take measures to boost economic and social infrastructure of the rural sector on Tuesday, during a pre-budget consultation on agricultural and rural development.

The experts also discussed ways to eradicate unemployment and poverty through the development of agriculture and allied sectors as well as the non-farm sectors.

The meeting started with Sitharaman focussing on the measures to boost the economic and social infrastructure of the rural sector and ways to eradicate unemployment and poverty through the development of agriculture and allied sectors as well as the non-farm sector. She said that the concerns of the agriculture sector are high on the priority of the present government. The finance minister said that the ministry will also hold broad-based consultations with different stakeholders from the fisheries sector to bring about a blue revolution by optimally using our maritime resources.

The meeting also revolved around the need for start-ups in the industry, which can remove the segmentation in the agriculture market and help in providing remunerative markets for agriculture products and supplying it to the final consumers at reasonable prices.

The main areas of discussion during the meeting included agriculture research & extension services, rural development, the non-farm sector, horticulture, food processing, animal husbandry, fisheries, and startups in the agricultural sector among others.

Apart from the finance minister, the meeting was attended by MoS Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur, Dr Ramesh Chandra, Member, NITI Aayog, Subhash C. Garg, Finance Secretary, Girish Chandra Murmu, Expenditure Secretary, Ajay Narayan Pandey, Revenue Secretary, Rajeev Kumar, Secretary, DFS, Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, Amarjeet Sinha Secretary, Department of Rural Development, Dr Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & Director General, Indian Council for Agri Research, Dr KV Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor, Tarun Shridhar, Secretary, ADF, Ministry of Agriculture, Rajni Sekhri Sibal, Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Pramod Chandra Mody, Chairperson, CBDT, and other senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.

During the meeting representatives of the agricultural and rural development sectors submitted various suggestions to boost investment in the agricultural sector and enhance market access to farmers. Suggestions were given to improve food processing sector and introduction of technologyintensive processes in the nonfarm sector. It was also suggested that solar energy may be treated as the third crop to augment the income of farmers.

Incentivising and popularising usage of organic manure for improving the carbon content in the soil was suggested during the second meeting.