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Modi speaks about food processing policy decisions at FICCI’s 90th AGM
Friday, 15 December, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
In his inaugural address to trade and industry captains at the 90th annual general meeting (AGM) of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan, prime minister Narendra Modi referred to the policy decisions taken in sectors such as food processing and the benefits achieved from them.

He also spoke of reforms in a number of sectors, including food processing. He said it was due to these measures that India’s rank had risen from 142 to 100 in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings. He also mentioned the other indicators that pointed to the robust health of the economy. He said organisations like FICCI had a key role to play in sectors such as food processing.

Modi exhorted corporate India to pledge itself to the creation of a New India - an India that fulfills the aspirations of the poor and needy and gives fillip to the domestic industry [big and small, where micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are hand-held by large corporates to serve the requirements of the people in every nook and corner of the country].

The prime minister said it now devolved on industry leaders to turn their attention to minimising imports to fuel domestic production, which has a direct bearing on creation of jobs and domestic wealth creation. He said while that a lot has been achieved since independence, several challenges have arisen as well.

He added that the poor seemed to be struggling against the existing system for things such as bank accounts, gas connections, scholarships, pensions, etc. He said the government was working to end this struggle, and to create a system that was transparent and sensitive.
 
The prime minister said that his government was working to strengthen the banking system, while pointing out that, the issue of non-performing assets (NPAs) were a legacy received by the current government from its predecessor. “It is open loot of people’s hard-earned money,” he added.

Modi said, “Rumours are now being spread about the Financial Regulation and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill.” He added that the government was working to protect the interests of the account-holders, but rumours that were being spread suggested the exact opposite.

The prime minister said organisations such as FICCI had a responsibility to generate awareness about such issues. He said that industry also had a big role to play in making Goods and Services Tax (GST) more effective, so that its benefits were passed on to the consumers.

Modi said the government’s effort was to ensure that maximum businesses registered for GST. He said the more formal the system became, the more it will benefit the poor.

It will enable easier availability of credit from the banks and reduce the cost of logistics, thereby enhancing the competitiveness of businesses. “I hope FICCI has a plan to generate large-scale awareness among small traders,” he added.

Delivering the welcome address, Pankaj Patel, president, FICCI, said, “The year 2017 has been a historic one, with GST finally coming into force.”
“Not just this, but the steps taken to help business adjust to the new system, the user-feedback system, helping resolve bottlenecks, relaxing deadlines for filing returns and cut in tax rate are all indicative of the government's commitment to involve all stakeholders in its development agenda. Sab ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas is not just a slogan, but is now a reality,” he added.

The FICCI president said, “We expect the growth to cross seven per cent soon, but the need of the hour is to grow 9-10 per cent per year for the next 30 years.”

“This is the imperative if we have to engage the poor in development, reduce inequality, and most importantly, to generate direct and indirect employment at the speed of 20 million jobs per year,” he said.

“To go from seven per cent to nine per cent-plus growth, we need a booming export growth of over 25 per cent per year,” Patel added.

He said, “We need to develop and execute our own alternative long-term strategy to ensure export growth of 25 per cent per annum and a 10 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth per annum over the next 30 years.”

“FICCI has submitted an analysis on export development to the ministry of commerce earlier on developing our exports,” Patel said.

Rashesh Shah, president-elect, FICCI, said that the bold reforms undertaken by the government of India with speed, scale and decisiveness have enthused FICCI.

He added that the prime minister’s vision of New India energised, galvanised and inspired the industry.

Shah assured that FICCI would steadfastly work towards making the prime minister’s vision of New India a reality and would redouble to promote its efforts in sectors such as MSME and start-ups.

Sanjaya Baru, secretary general, FICCI, welcomed Modi and the gathering of business leaders, ambassadors and business delegates.
 
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