Updated: January 29, 2021 7:54:07 am
India’s push to strengthen its economy and self-reliance during the pandemic will help in strengthening global supply chains, according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Speaking at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Davos Dialogue virtually, Modi also pitched for multinational firms to participate in the $26-billion worth of Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes that the Government had announced after the Covid lockdown last year.
“Even during the (pandemic), India had upheld economic activity by starting trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects (and) running special schemes for employment. At that time, we had stressed on saving every single life. Now, every single life has come together for the development of the country,” he said.
“Now, India has taken an oath to become self-reliant (Atma Nirbhar). India’s wish for Atma Nirbharta will strengthen globalism in a new way… Today, the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan that we are driving is also fully committed towards the global good and global supply chain. India also has the capacity and capability of strengthening the global supply chain,” he said. “More importantly, we have the reliability to do so.”
The Prime Minister also touched upon India’s experience with Covid and how the country geared up to take on the challenge. He added that the world can expect more vaccines to be made available from India, which has been playing a major role in the global fight against the pandemic.
While experts had raised concerns about India, with some predicting a “tsunami” of cases, India did not let these views bring down its performance and, instead, focused on developing Covid-specific health resources, said Modi. Today, India is one of the countries that has been able to successfully handle the pandemic, he said.
“Right now, there are only two made-in-India corona vaccines. In the coming future, there will be many more vaccines coming out that will be manufactured in India. These vaccines will fully help the countries of the world on a greater scale and speed…,” said the Prime Minister.
According to him, India offers the right environment to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (“Industry 4.0”). It is one of the countries where the cheapest data is available, where smartphones are abundant and connectivity is widespread, he said. The country’s automation and design pool of experts is also very big and most global engineering centres are present here, Modi said, adding that even in artificial intelligence and machine learning, Indian software engineers are globally recognised.
In the last six years, India’s work on improving its digital infrastructure can be a case study for the world’s experts, said the Prime Minister, bringing up examples of unique health IDs and UPI transactions. For instance, in December alone, there were transactions of Rs 4 trillion through UPI, and this is a model that various large countries are trying to emulate, Modi said.
In the last few years, he said, the country has also placed a lot of emphasis on reforms and incentive-based stimulus. “During the Covid-19 times also, India had increased the pace of structural reforms in nearly every sector. These reforms are being supported by production-linked incentives,” he said.
From the tax regime to FDI norms, there is a “predictable and friendly” environment and work is also underway to ensure that ease of doing business is improved, he said.
During an interaction with Chief Executive Officers of various multinational companies following his address, the Prime Minister went into the country’s plans for improving its infrastructure as well as the Government’s vision for smart cities.
He told CEOs that it was estimated that the country’s infrastructure needs would touch around $4.5 trillion by 2040, and that the Government and industry would have to achieve India’s infrastructure goals through collaboration.
“In the last six years, India has made 57,000 km of inter-state highways and electrified more than 58 per cent of its railway lines. In these six years, the country has added 36 GW solar capacity in its power sector. You look at any sector, and you will see rapid work on infrastructure there. According to the national infrastructure pipeline, $1.5 trillion worth of projects will be implemented over the next five years,” said the Prime Minister.
“Like this, to connect all of the country’s economic zones, a multi-modal connectivity master plan is being made. In business, to reduce logistic costs, to increase logistic efficiency, the Government is working on releasing a National Logistic Policy,” he said.
“Our country’s vision is clear–we have to transform the country through access, inclusion and empowerment. At the same time, we have to focus on user privacy,” said the Prime Minister while discussing artificial intelligence and free flow of data.
In the next 2-3 years, India plans to connect more than 600,000 villages through fibernet, he said. “By 2025, we will have 25 cities with metro services,” he said.
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