300 Mn Indians untouched by economic growth: Kamal Nath

Saturday, 26 April 2008, 05:25 Hrs
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Dubai: Around 300 million people in India have not benefited from the country's tremendous economic growth, according to Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath.

"Around 300 million people have not been touched by the tremendous economic growth India has attained," Kamal Nath said while delivering a lecture on 'India's Economy and its Future Prospects' organized by the Emirates Bankers' Forum here Thursday.

"Around 300 million people in India are earning less than $1 a day," he said.

Observing that India faced massive challenges even as its economy grew, he said: "We are not grappling with massive growth but grappling with managing growth."

Food prices, he said, was a major issue as many move from one meal a day to two meals a day.

"As India moves ahead, we have to address this issue," he said.

"Around 650 million people in India are engaged in agriculture. The next challenge is how to move 100-150 million people away from agriculture and into manufacturing," he added.

Stating that this was the next phase of India's economic development, the minister said: "This has to happen because of the pressure on food prices."

Nath said banks too would have to bear responsibility in addressing this issue.

"Some banks, including international ones, are already reaching out to these (rural and non-metro) areas. The RBI (Reserve Bank of India) has asked banks to move into Class B cities. We have around 34 such cities," he said.

Expressing confidence that India can face these challenges, he said: "India's strength is its ability to adopt and adapt."
Source: IANS
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