New Delhi: Stressing on the need to increase farm production and employment, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu advocated raising the water storage capacity in the country to boost agriculture.
"We need to work in the agriculture sector. Agriculture is going to be very important. The question is how to increase production per acre and also employment.
"Agriculture is based on natural capital. So the solution is technology and better management practices and then it can also grow," Prabhu said at a book release function yesterday.
Stating that agriculture is faced with so many challenges, he suggested reforms in the sector and pointed out that other nations were way ahead of India.
"China started reforms in farm sector way back in late seventies. In India per capital storage is 1/20th of the US. We are way behind in the storage capacity," he said.
Observing that the water received from monsoon was very less, Prabhu advocated water storage to deal with the shortage.
"Though monsoon is from June to September you get good rain for 15 days only. Since we are getting water for shorter period and we want to use it for longer period, the only way is storage.
"It can solve drought problem, irrigation problem and support the navigation system also. We have to store it so that it can be utilised for irrigation," he said, adding that it can also be used for tourism purposes also.
The Minister also noted that Punjab is the most irrigated state in the country.
Prabhu said the government is working on skill development scheme as it is required in rural areas also.