Reforms in the agricultural sector, in the last six months, have started giving benefits to the farmers, Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi said today, addressing the ASSOCHAM Foundation week, asking industry to invest more in the R&D in areas such as agriculture, space and defence to make India ‘Aatmanirbhar’ as fast as possible.
“Benefits of agricultural reforms which had begun six months, have started reaching the farmers”, the Prime Minister said, touching upon a range of issues, including vaccine against Covid-19 pandemic, corporate governance, Research and Development, improving rural economy and renewed interest of global investors in India.
The Prime Minister’s address was attended by India’s top industry leaders, including Mr Ratan Tata who was conferred the ‘ASSOCHAM Enterprise of the Century Award’ award for upholding and taking forward the ethos and values of the House of Tatas.
“Sir, you have been the carrier of leadership, you have not dithered, you have not escaped, you have turned them and frontally lead the country through this period for which I should say, we should all be most obliged,” said Mr Tata.
Asking the industry to feel unshackled, the Prime Minister said as part of Atmanirbhar initiative, India has made up its mind and is committed to reforms in rules and regulations. His government has repealed as many 1500 laws in the last six months. These had become outdated and outlived their utility.
He said with the improved physical and digital infrastructure, farmers can have a better market for their products, helping the entire rural economy reach a new high.
“The efforts by the government to reduce the rural-urban divide in the last six years can be multiplied by the industry,” the Prime Minister said, asking the industry to be focussed more towards rural India.
He said, “today focus is being given on both physical and digital infrastructure” and ensuring the farmers have access to the digital market. Broadband and other digital infrastructure is being taken to the villages.
He placed emphasis on organic farming, herbal products and Start Ups in the rural landscape.
Talking about the Covid-19 vaccine development and manufacturing plan, the Prime Minister said India would not only meet its own vaccine requirement but would also reach out to several countries with the same. He said the challenge before the country is how soon the objective of Atmanirbhar Bharat is achieved.
India’s success has a positivity never seen in the past. For global investors, the country has transformed itself from “Why India” to “Why Not India”. This is reflected in the robust inflows of foreign direct investment and foreign portfolio investment even at times of the pandemic-hit global economy, the Prime Minister said. India has moved towards ease of doing business in terms of labour laws, regulatory compliances, Startup ecosystems and the broad policy of giving a ‘Red Carpet’ treatment to investors.
Calling upon ASSOCHAM and the entire India Inc to help devise a mechanism to deal with the fast -changing geo-political situations in the world, Mr Modi said the industry must also look at scaling up corporate governance. Whether it is dealing with gender parity, corporate governance, labour inclusivity and interest of other stakeholders, “what you expect from the government and society”, must be done by the industry as well.
Recalling the rich heritage of ASSOCHAM, the Prime Minister said out of the first 100 years of its formation, the chamber had the shackles of foreign rule before India’s Independence. He said in 2047 India would celebrate 100 years of Independence. With a pro-reform government, “you have full freedom” to realise new ambitions for the country. He said the world is moving towards the fourth Industrial Revolution in which India must participate from the front.
The government is putting special focus on manufacturing. Besides reforms, incentives schemes have also been announced for more than 10 sectors. Positive results of the same are already visible, he said. Mr Modi also enumerated several steps for deepening the financial markets including the bond market; sovereign funds and pension funds are being given tax rebates. Besides, strengthening of PSU banks is also being taken up to ensure adequate funding for the unfolding opportunities.
Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, president, ASSOCHAM said, “We as a nation have been infected by your mantra of self-belief – the clarion call of “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”. This self-belief is most evident in the manufacturing sector, which is all set to leverage your PLI scheme to make India as a global factory in the next 5 years and achieve this 5 trillion dollar economy. With the bullet train construction starting in Gujarat, the bullet train of the Indian economy will also zoom ahead.”
Mr Vineet Agarwal, senior vice-president said, “As an apex Chamber we would continue to focus on strengthening the backbone of our economy – the MSME segment. ASSOCHAM has extensive experience at the grass root level which we would leverage to champion the cause of MSMEs so that they continue to prosper.”
“As the incoming president, I will take forward the mandate that you have set for the industry and continue the legacy that ASSOCHAM has built. We started our 100th year with you and today we begin the next phase of our journey with your guidance and support.”
Mr Balkrishan Goenka, immediate past-president and Chairman Centenary Committee, ASSOCHAM said, “This time he again demonstrated how a visionary leader can build a new dawn… with imagination, insight, and bold decisions to serve the nation and its people. When the whole world was still in dilemma on how to deal with this pandemic… our Hon’ble Prime Minister was amongst the first few world leaders to announce complete lockdown… which played an important role in controlling the spread of COVID 19 in the country.”
Congratulating the Prime Minister of India and the Government for their quick actions to mitigate the exponential rise in the health crisis and supporting the vulnerable segments in these trying times, Mr Deepak Sood, secretary general said, “the clarion call of Atmanirbharta has enthused the industry with a promise of long-term growth. Our economy is recovering faster than expected and these green shoots of recovery have helped boost business sentiments.”