Says industry must invest in rural sector to create jobs & diversify wealth generation

Agriculture crisis is one of the biggest problems the country is facing at present, and while prices of fertilisers, diesel and electricity are rising, those of food grains are falling sharply, Union minister for road transport and highways NitinGadkari said. This, he said, was the reason why farmers were committing suicide.

“I am not sure how visible it is, but this is also a concern for the country … the agriculture crisis,” Gadkari, who is also the minister for micro, small and medium enterprises, said at the ETAuto Natural Gas Vehicle Conclave 2019 here on Friday.

“The reason behind this is surplus of rice, surplus of wheat and surplus of sugar. Because of this, our agriculture economy is nearing its end,” Gadkari said.

Gadkari said the government was focussed on diversification of agriculture into energy and power, and industry must also invest in rural and agricultural sectors to create employment and diversify wealth generation.

“When we create employment in rural and tribal areas, their economies will grow, diversification of wealth will happen, which is very important for the country,” Gadkari said.

He said pollution of the air and water, and India’s crude oil import bill, and agricultural crisis were the country’s three major problems today.

“If the answer lies somewhere, then clearly, with a new vision we will have to look towards alternative fuel,” Gadkari said. “Our import bill for crude oil is Rs. 7 lakh crore, and bringing this down is our biggest requirement from the perspective of the economy,” he added.

Gadkari said industry as well as the government must think of solutions which would be import-substitute, cost effective, indigenous and pollution free.

The minister said India must indigenously develop alternative fuels to counter crude oil imports.

Gadkari has been strongly advocating the use of methanol, ethanol, bio-diesel and bio-CNG to combat the pollution crisis India is faced with.