Create more jobs in non-farm sector to address poverty: Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said more jobs need to be created in non-farm sector as employment creation is the most potent tool for bringing down poverty.
Addressing a summit on livelihood security, he also asked the industry to create a mechanism for income opportunities and capacity building through corporate social responsibility (CSR).
While emphasising on the need for providing livelihood security to the poor and realising the dreams of young India, he said that achieving these two tasks pose a formidable challenge considering India has only 2.4 % of world's geographical area and 17% of the global population.
"In India, the high incidence of poverty of over 60% that prevailed six decades ago have come down to over 30% now. Even then a sizeable number of about 270 million remained below the poverty line as on 2011 12. Our goal now is 'poverty elimination' and not merely 'poverty alleviation'," Mukherjee said at an Assocham event.
Since the average age of an Indian will be 29 years by 2020, the country not only has to find gainful employment to engage the growing manpower but also to equip them with capacity and expertise, he said.
Stating that job creation is the most potent tool for wiping out the curse of poverty, the President said there is a "freeze in fresh farm jobs" owing to over-employment and therefore more jobs needed to be created in non-farm sector.
"To lift the pressure off the farm sector, more jobs in non-farm sector are required to be created through a paradigm shift from primary to secondary agriculture," he added.
Highlighting that food processing sector provides a window for generating jobs in rural areas and small townships, Mukherjee said: "Developing this sunrise sector calls for greater investment in infrastructure like cold chains, handling, packaging and transportation."
Even as he called for creating more jobs in non-farm sector, he said efforts should be made to make agriculture a viable and rewarding profession by improving farm yields through intervention of modern technologies.