NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said that investment, rather than subsidies, would make the country’s agricultural sector self-sufficient since a model that relies indefinitely on subsidies can’t be sustainable in the long run.
“India will continue to see a gradual blending of investment and subsidies. And hopefully one day... investment will prevail and therefore making the farmer more self-sustaining. I do hope that day is not really far off,” he said at the launch of a book “Supporting Indian Farms the Smart Way”. “To have a model which sustains indefinitely only on subsidies will not be a sustainable model. Investments will make the Indian farmers self-sufficient in the long run,” he said.
Jaitley said with much lesser subsidies, a self-sufficient farmer would be able to better serve the cause of India’s farm sector and the country. He said a “very large” part of the expenditure in agriculture had been going into the subsidies, although investment had also been made by both state and Central governments.
Every policymaker faces the question of choosing between where to stop subsidies and where to concentrate on investment, he said. “I think that’s an eternal choice that policymakers in India have to make. Public discourse occasionally gets impacted by populism. It gets impacted by the sentiment that a particular move will generate for a moment, even though the impact of that move or that policy will not be long-lasting enough. “And therefore there is always a great temptation where you start taking decisions which are predominantly populist,” Jaitley said. He added that due to the formalization of the economy taking place in several other sectors, the government was increasingly having additional resources to spend on sectors, including agriculture and rural sector, which needed maximum support. (IANS)