The domestic industry needs to find “Swadeshi” alternatives to imports from countries like China, said Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari on Saturday.
In order to make India “atmanirbhar”, the share of the manufacturing sector in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) needs to be increased to 30 per cent from 22-26 per cent currently, he said at the annual meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci). Agriculture, on the other hand, needs to account for over 25 per cent of GDP as opposed to 14-16 per cent currently, he added.
Noting that India was importing “a lot of things” in the automobile sector from China, Gadkari said, “I am not a businessman or a business expert but I am seeing a huge potential for electric cars, e-bikes, electric auto rickshaws and even electric trucks.”
The minister urged the industry to look into products, like magnets and lithium ion batteries, that are being imported and what is being produced domestically.
“Whatever the thing which we are importing we have to find out the Swadeshi alternative in the country without compromising on the quality and cost. That is exactly the main mission of Atmanirbhar Bharat,” he said.
“Hundreds of fields and sectors are there where we can find out this requirement,” he said, adding that there was a need to reduce imports and increase exports in order to make the country’s economy stronger.
“We can increase our growth rate and we can even increase the manufacturing sector (share in GDP) from 22 to 30 per cent,” he said, adding that there was a need to tap research institutes for innovative technologies to help in this regard.
According to Gadkari, there is also a need for liquidity in the market.
“I know that there are some problems. RBI (Reserve Bank of India) has got Rs 9 lakh crore deposited by the banks, getting 2 per cent interest. We are trying. The Prime Minister is telling them to use it for the people — finance it to the people,” he said.
“Without liquidity, we cannot increase the growth rate and without growth rate, we cannot get capital investment and we cannot increase the employment potential. And without employment potential, we cannot eradicate poverty and, without that, we cannot make Atmanirbhar Bharat,” he said.
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