Blaming the Congress for agrarian distress, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the policy of the NDA government to pump in more resources into rural areas has improved agricultural productivity and the quality of lives of the people in villages.
Jaitley said with the current level of investment in the next two decades, the infrastructure in rural areas will come at par with that in the cities. The minister's remarks came in the backdrop of opposition party's allegations of ignoring rural India and agriculture sector and the last week's massive protest in the national capital by farmers across the country.
"Removing the agrarian distress and improving the quality of life in rural areas cannot be done by slogans alone. From 1971 onwards, the Congress policy was slogans and not resources," Jaitley wrote in a blog titled 'India's rural sector'.
The NDA government has pumped in resources into the rural areas, which have improved infrastructure, the quality of life of people living therein and increased agricultural productivity, he said. The policy measures have been taken to ensure remunerative prices to the farmers, the minister added.
"The past four-and-a-half years is just the beginning. If this level of investment with its annual increase is continued in the rural areas for at least the next two decades, we will be close to providing a quality of life and infrastructure in rural areas which is more urban like," Jaitley said.
Listing out sectors, he said the government has already increased expenditure in animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries, besides providing more funds for agriculture research and education.
"The Narendra Modi government assumed office on May 26, 2014. Stress in the agricultural sector was not born thereafter. It was inadequacy of the resources pumped into the agricultural sector by the Congress that had led to both an agrarian distress and an inadequate quality of life in the rural areas."
"The NDA government planned a multi-pronged strategy to improve the quality of life in Indian villages to enlarge quantum of investment and to make the Indian farmer self-sufficient and farming remunerative rather than be only dependent on state agencies," Jaitley said.
The government, he noted, has increased expenditure on rural roads, housing and healthcare as well as launched schemes like Swachh Bharat, rural electrification, JanDhan, Ujjwala Yojana and Mudra Yojana with an aim to improve the agrarian sector.