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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report

Empowerment can enhance the livelihood of millions: Aiyar

BS Reporter in New Delhi | December 04, 2007 10:23 IST

Millions of Indians living with an earning of under Rs.20 per day should be empowered to a better living, through the 250,000 locally elected self governing units, the Minister of Panchayati Raj and Youth Affairs and Sports, Mani Shankar Aiyar, said at the India Economic Summit 2007, on Monday.

Participatory development and inclusive governance is the way to inclusive growth, Aiyar added.

Aiyar cited the examples of states such as Kerala, Karnataka, Sikkim, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat, which have been able to efficiently develop governance at the Panchayati Level, facilitating their response to the economic development initiatives of the Central government.

India has one of the most impressive e-government projects and rural India can enter 21st century through the information technology route, added the Minister.

Speaking in the session, 'Rural and Urban Development: India's Dual Imperatives,' the Minister said that non-agricultural job opportunities should be created and massive investment in the rural sector is required by corporate India.

Aiyar stressed on the need for greater urbanisation of rural India to stem the rising migration from villages to metropolitan cities.

Aiyar also observed at the same time that the development of rural areas should be consciously pushed. SEZs, for example should be developed with the consent of local people and be built in less inhabited locations. Companies, on the other hand, should be given adequate incentives to set up industry in non-urbanised areas.

Bringing in India Inc.s's perspective, Anand G. Mahindra, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra and Co-chair of the India Economic Summit, said that the government should focus on ramping up the non-agricultural sources of livelihood.

Quality and better standards of living will ensure controlled migration of rural population to urban areas, he said.

Neighborhood development initiatives and removal of bureaucratic road-blocks will ensure rural economic and infrastructural development. Mobile connectivity and rural road projects have the potential to change rural India.

Mohamed A. Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties, United Arab Emirates, felt people in the cities should look at outsourcing jobs to rural areas.

In terms of real estate, centres of attraction are required outside the cities as the upcoming young generation looks at quality of life, he said. Quality of infrastructure can be embedded in the new cities in a better way, Alabbar noted.

The government should look at the development of villages and the world can learn a lot from India as 'India lives in the villages'. Ben J. Verwaayen, Chief Executive Officer, BT, United Kingdom, Co-Chair of the India Economic Summit, talked of an alternate to urbanisation.

Verwaayen mentioned the availability of new technologies, remote access to education and other facilities, which have become possible, could be employed to develop rural areas. India's villages can be connected to the centres of 'world knowledge.'


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