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Expert bats for modern agro sector

- World Bank economist speaks on development

World Bank economist Deepak Bhattasali on Wednesday said the state government should “create dynamic manufacturing and modernised agriculture sector” to reduce poverty and bring prosperity.

Bhattasali, delivering a speech at Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI)-International Growth Centre-World Bank Lecture Series, stressed the need for rapid urban development and investments to build Bihar. “Bihar is the only state where the manufacturing sector’s share in growth state domestic product (GSDP) has fallen. It is 4 per cent at present,” Bhattasali said in his lecture, “Perspectives on Bihar’s Development and Investment Policy”.

ADRI member-secretary Shaibal Gupta, industries department principal secretary Navin Verma and industrialist Satyajeet Kumar were present during the lecture.

Stating that World Bank (WB) has set an ambitious target of bringing down global poverty significantly by 2030, Bhattasali said India was crucial from the point of view of its aim of reducing global poverty and in India, Bihar is an important state for World Bank as the state still has a high proportion of the country’s poor — 34 million.

Bhattasali said urban development was the central issue for World Bank as urban poverty is rising. A lot of growth is taking place in service sectors of hotels, restaurants, banks, construction among others in Bihar, he said, adding that the state needs to achieve an overall growth in agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors.

Three years ago, Bihar was not spending money but now things have changed, he said. While advocating huge investments in the state, Bhattasali said: “There is much scope for private sector investments in the state.” The state’s land holding is 0.47 hectare per family which is quite low and hence would not be helpful in either increasing overall agriculture production or productivity with small land holding, the senior economist said while advocating for “modernised agriculture”.

Verma said: “Land is the biggest constraint for private investment in the state.”

Gupta, in the inaugural address, highlighted the development and investment policy of the state.