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Rain Gods were kinder to previous govts: Jaitley

By Barun Jha
September 21, 2015 14:13 IST
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Concerned over low rate of growth in the agriculture sector, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said "the rain Gods have not been as kind" to this government as they were to the earlier ones.

He said weak agriculture sector is posing a challenge, but the government is committed to improving its performance while better results from other areas of economy can still ensure the growth rate improves further.

"We have 55 per cent of our population dependent on agriculture, and rain Gods have not been as kind to this government in the last two years as they were to the earlier governments. Therefore, the agriculture growth was flat last fiscal and this year," Jaitley said while talking about the adversities on the path of India growth story.

"We started with a much better June and July, but ended up with a disappointing August and the earlier part of September on monsoon.

"I am told monsoon has returned somewhat in the past few days to narrow the gap between normal and below normal," the Finance Minister said at a summit of international investors in Hong Kong.

About 15 per cent of the country's total GDP comes from agriculture and a lot more people would need to move to manufacturing and services sectors, he noted.

In this regard, Jaitley said the plans include building a lot more cities, smart cities and suburban townships for which infrastructure is required.

At the same time, the government is also strengthening the rural areas in terms of irrigation and rural infrastructure and by providing urban-like facilities. "These are the priorities as far as this government is concerned," he added. 

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Barun Jha in Hong Kong
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