"How do you fight poverty? I think the first element you have to fight poverty is that the society must have resources to fight it," he said, speaking at the annual Jamnalal Bajaj Awards here.
"You need a high level of growth. Growth brings in resources. The policy of the state which brings a high level of growth is absolutely necessary. But will that growth itself remove poverty? The answer is no," he said.
He said the economic growth will only bring in the resources which are needed for the aim of poverty alleviation.
"You require social activism of the civil society to continue to flag the plight of the poor, to continue to work in those areas, to knock at policymakers and bring the poor onto the forefront and then after years and decades, we are able to pull them from their present condition of destitution," he said.
The minister, who presented awards to civil society groups for their work on diverse areas like healthcare and street children, exhorted everybody to resolve to work in this direction and make the country a better place to live.
Pointing to Jamnalal Bajaj's work of aligning with the Freedom Movement, Jaitley posed a question whether such posturing is possible for an industrialist in the contemporary times sans the raising of eyebrows.
Stating that experience with certain industrialists dabbling in politics has been "mixed" so far, he said efforts need to be made to have a transparent relationship between those in the industry with the executive.
While he did not name anyone, a few people from the industry like the flamboyant promoter of the bankrupt carrier Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya, Reliance group's Anil Ambani and more recently media venture promoter Rajiv Chandrashekhar are some examples of those from the industry who have been in the Rajya Sabha. A few others have contested for the Lok Sabha seats.
Addressing the event, industrialist Rahul Bajaj said he expects consumption demand to grow soon and hoped for the sagging private investment to revive after that.