New Delhi: India has said that developing nations should seriously consider direct government intervention to improve the lot of poor in both Asia and Africa.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, delivering the inaugural address at the Afro-Asian Rural Development Organisation conference here said that India had already realised the importance of government’s intervention for rural development and had implemented policies in this regard.
“We have realised that direct government intervention was necessary for improving the lot of the rural poor instead of waiting for the market forces to drive development. ‘Trickling down effect´ is not going to help,” he said.
The Minister said that India had been focusing on integrated rural development in its policy planning for decades now.
Pointing out that the budgetary grant for rural development had increased five fold over the years, he said that it had grown from Rs51.9 crore to Rs26,170 crore from the 9th Plan to the 11th Plan period.
Mukherjee announced that India would contribute an additional amount of Rs3 crore in the next three years to support the technical cooperation efforts of the AARDO to be utilised for capacity building of member-countries.
He said that the conference was being held at a time of crises engulfing the world, especially energy and food crises, which could have a negative impact even on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals before 2015.
“It is imperative that at this time our global partners ensure that their commitments on official development assistance and capacity building are not diluted, but upscaled in view of ebbing private flows,” he added.
Mukherjee said infrastructure development such as roads, transport, electrification, telecommunications, water and sanitation, particularly in the rural areas, was key areas for growth in both Asia and Africa.
On the occasion, Minister for Rural Development Raghuvansh Prasad Singh assured the AARDO delegates of India’s continued support by offering all possible help in order to achieve the objectives of the organisation.
Singh said that the additional contribution of Rs3 crore would be released to AARDO at the rate of Rs1 crore per year from 2009 to 2011.
AARDO, which started in 1962 with just five members, is headquartered in New Delhi and currently has 30 member-countries (14 Asian and 15 African) including an associate member.
The conference, which began yesterday, will continue till 9 January.