STRESSING ON the need for self-reliance and a stronger focus on manufacturing locally by enterprises, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said the government’s highest priority is to strengthen the economy against the impact of coronavirus and get the country back on the growth track. Calling industry to rise to the occasion, Modi said there is a need to build robust local supply chains and focus on Make In India.
Addressing the CII Annual Session 2020 through a video link, the Prime Minster pointed out that the ramping up of manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE) over the last three months was a positive step. Efforts are being made to reduce import dependence in sectors such as mobile and defence manufacturing, he said.
“It is about creating strong enterprises in India. Enterprises that can become global forces. It is about generating employment. It is about empowering our people to come out and create solutions that can define the future of our country,” Modi said. The ways to reduce imports have to be identified along with setting targets to increase productivity in various sectors, he said.
The Prime Minister said the world’s expectations from India has increased, and the corporate sector must take advantage of the trust that India has gained across the world during the coronavirus crisis. “India helped over 150 countries with medical supplies during the corona crisis. The world is looking for a trusted and reliable partner. India has the potential, strength and ability to emerge as one,” he said.
There’s a need for “intent, inclusion, investment, infrastructure, and innovation” to get back on the path of growth, he said. Terming CII as ‘Champions of Indigenous Inspirations’, Modi said domestic industries have to facilitate recovery and assist in the next level of growth.
“We will definitely get our growth back. India will get its growth back,” he said, adding that India has left lockdown behind and entered into Unlock Phase 1 and much of the sectors will open after June 8. He said the AtmaNirbhar package announced by the government not only provide immediate support to MSMEs and needy sections of the society, but also contains long term reforms — such as opening up of the coal and mining sectors — to help industrial activity.
India’s GDP growth slipped to an 11-year low of 4.2 per cent in 2019-20, and most economists expect it to contract this year. Rating agency CRISIL in a recent report predicted India’s growth to fall off the cliff and contract 5 per cent in fiscal 2021, and going back to pre-pandemic growth rates in the next 3 years doesn’t seem likely. In the past 69 years, India has seen a recession only thrice – in 1958, 1966 and 1980.
Modi said the government has made a host of sectors “future ready”, with systematic, planned and integrated reforms. The Prime Minister urged industry leaders to “think big” and come up with a detailed study of every sector and build consensus on reforms. The government will take up more structural reforms that will change the course of this country. “As Prime Minister, I assure you I am standing with you,” he said.
The government has tried to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises through change in their definition. Lakhs of units of MSME are like economic engine of our country and their contribution to GDP is around 30 per cent, he said. The Union Cabinet Tuesday approved an expanded definition of MSMEs, a Rs 50,000 crore Fund of Funds to provide equity support to growth-oriented MSMEs, and Rs 20,000 crore funding support to distressed companies through provision of partial credit guarantee. It also decided that export turnover of companies will not be counted in the limits of turnover for any category of MSME.
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