ĎNobody can say that we didnít reach out (on FDI in retail). States that do not want it, itís their decisioní

Walk the Talk

With the government's decision on FDI in multi-brand retail setting off a political storm, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma speaks to The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta on NDTV 24x7's Walk the Talk about why the country needs to go ahead with the policy

My guest this week is somebody who has been one of the most silent ministers in this government, but not so silent lately, Anand Sharma. So you are the one who has created this crisis and you are smiling.

We have not created a crisis. We have taken a decision which we should have taken last year but it was trapped in partisan politics. But this country needs investments, this country needs creation of integrated infrastructure, something which will benefit the rural economy, particularly farmers, and reduce the burden on the consumers, and, in the process, generate millions of jobs. India is a country where 55-60 per cent of the people are still dependent on agriculture for their sustenance. But things are going to change because agriculture cannot go beyond 4 per centóand that's a historical experience. Jobs have to be created.

In fact, there are very few phases in modern history where agriculture has grown at 4 per cent for 10 years anywhere.

True, but what is important is that you will have tens of millions of young Indians joining the workforce. That has to take priority attention, particularly in policy formulation. We are the second largest producer of food grains in the world but we lose 15 per cent post harvest. In milk, we are the largest (producers) by far.

In Maharashtra now, they are throwing away milk and milk powder which can't be exported because you guys in some frenzy banned milk exports.

We have corrected it. It (the ban) was when there was a shortage.

... contd.

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