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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

FE CFO Awards: ‘Bad policies of the past left us a poor nation’

Speaking as chief guest at the FE CFO Awards, Nitin Gadkari set ambitious targets for sectors that hold immense untapped potential to aid India to grow out of its problems: Village industries, automobile sector, clean-energy segments such as bio-fuel, hydrogen energy, electric vehicles.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
Updated: March 24, 2021 5:15:44 am
The FE CFO awards 2020 was earlier distributed with an array of corporate leaders and professionals from assorted fields watching the online event.

Bad policies of the past left us a poor nation, Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday, even as he outlined a multifaceted vision to address the country’s skewed development and attendant problems, including pockets of sticky poverty in the swathes of rural and tribal India.

Speaking as chief guest at the FE CFO Awards, he set ambitious targets for sectors that hold immense untapped potential to aid India to grow out of its problems: Village industries, automobile sector, clean-energy segments such as bio-fuel, hydrogen energy, electric vehicles. He also dwelt upon unconventional technologies – fly-ash concrete and ‘gobar’ paint – that could complement the intended developmental transformation and called for greater private sector participation.

“Before the Independence, 80 per cent of India’s population were dependent on agriculture. Since 1947, there has been a migration of 30 per cent of the population (primarily to urban centres). We have neglected the agriculture, rural, tribal segments and the poor. As urbanisation process has therefore been fast, the population is now a big problem for the cities. It is high time we adopted innovative ways to develop our rural, tribal and agricultural sectors,” he said.

He said the government was embarking on a plan to raise the village industry’s turnover from Rs 88,000 crore at present to Rs 5 lakh crore in five years. “I am trying my best to accelerate the growth of bio-fuel economy to Rs 2 lakh crore (Rs 20,000 crore at present).

According to the minister, the new vehicle scrapping policy announced last week could boost the domestic automobile industry’s turnover to Rs 10 lakh crore by the end of the term of the Narendra Modi 2.0 government from the current size of about Rs 7.5 lakh crore.

“Thanks to the scrapping policy, we can make Indian automobile industry the number-one manufacturing hub of the world. All reputed global auto brands already have (manufacturing) presence in India. We have all the requisites for cost-effective manufacturing — skilled manpower, raw materials, lower cost of production compared with other countries…”

The FE CFO awards 2020 was earlier distributed with an array of corporate leaders and professionals from assorted fields watching the online event. R Shankar Raman, chief financial officer at L&T, accepting the FE CFO Lifetime Achievement Award said: “These recognitions come our way because we happen to work for organisations and platforms which represent a larger cause.” Saurabh Agrawal, Group CFO, Tata Sons, who was adjudged “FE CFO of the year” said: “Let me thank members of the jury and the Indian Express Group for felicitating me with this award”. —FE

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