Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, exhorted corporate India to pledge itself to the creation of a New India – an India that fulfils the aspirations of the poor and needy, gives fillip to domestic industry, big and small, where Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are hand-held by large corporates to serve the requirements of the people in every nook and corner of the country.
Addressing captains of trade and industry while inaugurating the 90th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) at Vigyan Bhavan, the Prime Minister said it now devolves on industry leaders to turn their attention to minimising imports to fuel domestic production, which has a direct bearing on creation of jobs and domestic wealth creation.
Mr. Narendra Modi said the poor seemed to be struggling against the existing system for things such as bank accounts, gas connections, scholarships, pensions etc.
He said the Union Government is working to end this struggle, and to create a system that is transparent and sensitive. He said Jan Dhan Yojana is one example of this, and increasing “ease of living” has been the focus of the Union Government. He also mentioned the Ujjwala Yojana, construction of toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
The Prime Minister said that his Government was working to strengthen the banking system, while pointing out that, “the issue of NPAs is a legacy received by the current Government from the last government. It was open loot of people’s hard earned money”, he added.
He said, rumours are now being spread about the Financial Regulation and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill. He said the Government is working to protect the interests of the account holders, but rumours that are being spread are the exact opposite. He said organizations such as FICCI have a responsibility to generate awareness about such issues. He said, that industry has a big role also now in making GST more effective so that its benefits are passed on to the consumers.
Mr. Narendra Modi said the Government’s effort is to ensure that maximum businesses register for GST. He said the more formal the system becomes, the more it will benefit the poor. It will enable easier availability of credit from the banks and reduce cost of logistics, thereby enhancing competitiveness of businesses. “I hope FICCI has some plan to generate large-scale awareness among small traders”.
The Prime Minister mentioned policy decisions taken in sectors such as urea, textile, civil aviation, and health and the benefits achieved from them. He also spoke of reforms in sectors such as defence, construction, food-processing etc. He said due to these measures, India’s rank has risen from 142 to 100, in the World Bank “Ease of Doing Business” rankings. He also mentioned other indicators which point to the robust health of the economy while outlining the steps taken by the Government are also playing a key role in job creation.
The Prime Minister said orgainsations like FICCI have a key role to play in sectors such as food processing, start-ups, artificial intelligence, solar power, healthcare etc.
In his welcome address, Mr. Pankaj Patel, President, FICCI, said that the year 2017 has been a historic one with GST finally coming into force. Not just this, the steps taken to help business adjust to the new system, the user-feedback system, helping resolve bottlenecks, relaxing deadlines for filing returns and cut in tax rate are all indicative of the Government’s commitment to involve all stakeholders in its development agenda. ‘Sab ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas’ is not just a slogan, but is now a reality.
The FICCI President said, “We expect the growth to cross 7% soon but the need of the hour is to grow 9-10% per year for the next 30 years. This is the imperative if we have to engage the poor in development, reduce inequality and most importantly to generate direct and indirect employment at the speed of 20 million jobs per year. To go from 7% to 9% plus growth, we need a booming export growth of over 25% per year.”
Mr. Patel added, “We need to develop and execute our own alternative long term strategy to ensure export growth of 25% per annum and a 10% GDP growth per annum, over the next 30 years. FICCI has submitted an analysis on Export Development to the Ministry of Commerce earlier on developing our exports.”
Mr. Rashesh Shah, President-elect, FICCI, said that the bold reforms undertaken by the Government of India with speed, scale and decisiveness have enthused FICCI. He added that Prime Minister’s vision of ‘New India’ energized, galvanized and inspired the industry. He assured that FICCI would steadfastly work towards making Prime Minister’s vision of ‘New India’ a reality and would redouble to promote its efforts in sectors such as MSME, start-ups and women entrepreneurship.
Dr. Sanjaya Baru, Secretary General, FICCI at the outset welcomed the Prime Minister and the huge gathering of business leaders, Ambassadors and business delegates.