Exhorting the importance of ease of doing business in attracting investments for the states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the chief secretaries of states and union territories to accord top priority to ease of doing business. Modi’s interaction was part of the National Conference of Chief Secretaries on the theme of ‘States as Drivers for Transforming India’ — a conference organised by the Niti Aayog.
“He said ‘ease of doing business’ should be accorded top priority, and would greatly help states in attracting investment. The Prime Minister said improvement in ‘ease of doing business’ would bring in greater investment in the states. He said states have enormous untapped development potential,” an official statement noted.
Modi also underlined the need for maximum use of the 12-digit biometric identifier Aadhaar to improve governance and eliminate leakages in government schemes; and the use of government’s e-Marketplace (GeM) by August 15, saying it would provide efficiency, savings and transparency in government procurement.
Besides chief secretaries, the meeting was attended by Union Minister of State for Planning Rao Inderjit Singh, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya, Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha and Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
Furthermore, stressing on the fact that use of technology in agriculture was imperative, Modi asked the states to work on eliminating wastage in farm produce, and focus on food processing. In particular, he called for the states to focus on agricultural reforms, and e-NAM in particular.
The Niti Aayog has drawn up an exhaustive plan for achieving the target of doubling farmers’ income in five years ending 2022-23. The main stress of the plan is on increasing the area under irrigation, diversification of crops to help farmers sow more than one crop in rain fed areas and linking the farmers to a common market through E-Nam (National Agriculture Market) for ensuring remunerative returns.
Panagariya, who also addressed the discussions, pointed out the need for shifting workers from agriculture to industry and encourage small enterprises to grow with a view to accelerate economic growth. He said that at the aggregate macro level, bringing about rapid growth is most critical as no major success in poverty alleviation is likely to happen without it.
“If we set the output per worker in agriculture equal to 1, then output per worker in industry is 5 and that in services 3.8 … In other words, even at the current productivity levels in each sector, moving one percentage-point workers out of agriculture into industry can increase the GDP by 1.5 per cent,” Panagariya said.
“Growth, job creation, shift to non-farm jobs and large firms with high productivity needed to build strong states and a strong India,” he added.