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New Delhi, June 11, 2020
Stressing the need to build a self-reliant India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said this was the time to prepare a globally competitive domestic supply chain with bold decisions and investments, away from traditional conservative approaches.
Delivering the inaugural address of the 95th annual plenary session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) through video conferencing, the Prime Minister said, “The goal of self-reliance has been paramount in the policy and practice of the country. Now, the coronavirus pandemic has taught us a lesson on how to speed it up. It is from this lesson that the Aatmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) campaign has started.”
Referring to the war against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Modi said India was putting up a brave front along with the entire world. The country was also facing various other problems arising out of disasters like locust attacks, hailstorms, oil rig fires, series of mini earthquakes and two cyclones, but the nation was fighting these problems in unison.
Such difficult times have made India more resolute. Determination, will power and unity are the strength of the nation which makes the country fight all the crises. “Any crisis provides us with an opportunity to turn it into a turning point to build a self- reliant India (Aatma Nirbhar Bharat).
“While self-reliance has been an aspiration of India for years, now it is time to make each village, district of the country self-reliant.” He called for pulling the Indian economy out of "command and control" mode and taking it towards "plug and play" mode.
“We must all work towards making India an exporter of all products which it is currently forced to import,” he added. Appreciating the efforts of small traders, he said, “When we buy local produce from them, we are not just paying them for their goods and services, but are rewarding their contributions.
He listed the major reforms announced under Aatma Nirbhar Bharat campaign like expanding the scope of the definition of MSMEs, arranging special funds to support MSMEs, decision-related to IBC, creation of Project Development Cells for fast-tracking of investments.
Hailing the recent policy decisions taken in the field of agriculture, Modi said the agricultural economy has been liberated from years of restrictions. Now the farmers of India have the freedom to sell their products anywhere in the country.
The government's current cluster-based approach to local produce will provide an opportunity for all. Clusters associated with these will be developed in the districts, blocks in which they are born.
“Along with this, clusters will also be made for bamboo and organic products. Like Sikkim, the entire North East can become a huge hub for organic farming.”
The Prime Minister called for reviving the historical superiority of Bengal in manufacturing. Taking inspiration from "What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow, he urged the industry to move forward. He further said that People, Planet and Profit are interlinked to each other. All three can simultaneously flourish and co-exist.
To elaborate further he gave an example of the reduction in the price of LED bulbs compared to 6 years ago, which had led to savings of about Rs 19,000 crore in electricity bills every year. That is profit for both people and the planet, he said.
He also said other schemes and decisions of the government in the last 5-6 years have been based on the concept of people, planet and profits. He also highlighted how people benefit from using waterways, how it reduces the cost of logistics and that the planet also benefits from less fuel burn.
He cited another example, the campaign to free the country from single-use plastic. This will benefit West Bengal by furthering the Jute business. He urged the industry to take advantage of the opportunity further.
People-centric, people-driven and planet-friendly development has now become a part of governance in the country. “Our technological interventions are also compatible with the idea of People, Planet and Profit.”
The Prime Minister said the banking services have become touchless, contactless, cashless and works 24 x 7 through UPI. Transactions from BHIM APP are now creating new records. Rupay card is now becoming the favourite card of the poor, farmers, middle class and every section of the country.
He urged the use of Rupay cards for creating a self-reliant India. He said that now the banking services in the country have also reached the have-nots. It has been made possible to deliver the necessary support to millions of beneficiaries without leakage through DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) and JAM (Jandhan Aadhaar Mobile).
He also highlighted how small self-help groups and MSMEs can benefit by providing their goods and services directly to the Government on the GeM platform.
He urged the industry to invest in R&D and manufacturing of better batteries to increase the power storage capacity of solar panels in the country. He also called for handholding of MSMEs and of such institutions who are engaged in this work.
Quoting from Tagore’s famous poem “Nutan Juger Bhor”, the Prime Minister exhorted the Industry to understand the opportunities available in the current challenges and said that only marching feet can create a new path. There should be no delay now, he said.
He also hailed the ICC’s contribution to the development of industries in East India and the North East.