Rattled by consecutive droughts that affected livelihoods of lakhs of people in rural areas, government is now hoping to achieve growth targets by banking only on a good monsoon.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that consecutive droughts have affected rural economy and left many in distress.
“’After two years of drought, if forecast of better monsoon rains this year holds good, it will improve agriculture and raise rural income, India can grow at an even faster pace this year if predictions of good monsoon hold up,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Jaitley’s comment on the rural economy comes in the back drop of a severe drought which has affected people in more than 11 states in the country.
To improve the conditions in drought-hit rural India, the government has been making efforts to provide 50 days of additional work. But this isn’t seem to be working and is not showing any results.
The drought has had a massive impact on household consumption levels in rural areas and has drastically brought down their spending. Market research agency IMBR says spending on food and personal essentials in the drought-hit areas has come to down from 10 percent to just 3 percent in the past six months.
The government seems to realise the crisis but only has a good monsoon to bank on after the MET department projected an above-average rainfall this season.
“A good monsoon season will help farm output of the world’s second-biggest producer of rice, wheat, sugar and cotton, “said the Finance Minister while speaking in Parliament.
Jaitley also said that the government’s efforts in increasing the public sector investments will give good yields but only after the agriculture is revived by the monsoon.
Government is projecting 7.5 per cent growth in the current year which many believe will be a tough challenge considering the economic stress, especially in the rural areas.