Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi delivered the inaugural address of the 95th annual plenary session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) through video conferencing here today.
Referring to the war against the COVID-19 Pandemic Prime Minister said India is putting up a brave front along with the entire world. He said the country is also facing various other problems arising out of disasters like locust attacks, hailstorms, Oil Rig Fires, series of mini earthquakes and two cyclones, but that the nation is fighting these problems in unison.
Prime Minister said that such difficult times have made India more resolute. He said that determination, will power and unity are the strength of the nation which makes the country to fight all the crises. He said that any crisis provides us with an opportunity to turn it into a turning point to build a self- reliant India (AatmaNirbhar Bharat).
Self Reliant India
The Prime Minister said 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 said and called for pulling the Indian economy out of ‘command and control’ mode and taking it towards ‘plug and play’ mode.
He said it is time for bold decisions & bold investments, to prepare a globally competitive domestic supply chain and not for conservative approaches. He was listing the sectors in which India should attain AatmaNirbhar.
The Prime Minister said “Goal of self-reliance has been paramount in the policy and practice of the country and now the Corona pandemic has taught us a lesson on how to speed it up. “It is from this lesson – AatmaNirbhar Bharat campaign has started.” he said.
Shri Modi said, we must all work towards making India an exporter of all products which it is currently forced to import. Appreciating the efforts of small traders, he said that when we buy local produce from them, we are not just paying them for their goods and services, but are rewarding their contributions.
Quoting Swami Vivekananda that ‘The simplest method to be worked upon at present is to induce Indians to use their own produce and get markets for Indian products in other countries’ he said that this path shown by Swami Vivekananda is an inspiration for India in post-COVID world.
Prime Minister listed the major reforms announced under AatmaNirbhar Bharat campaign like expanding the scope of definition of MSMEs, arranging special funds to support MSMEs, decision related to IBC, creation of Project Development Cells for fast tracking of investments.
Amendment to APMC Act
Hailing the recent policy decisions taken in the field of agriculture, the Prime Minister said that the agricultural economy has been liberated from years of restrictions. Now the farmers of India have the freedom to sell their product, their produce anywhere in the country.
North East an hub for Organic farming
He added that the government’s current cluster based approach to local produce will provide opportunity for all. Clusters associated with these will be developed in the districts, blocks in which they are born. He said “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.” He said that Organic farming can become a huge movement in the North East, if it is made a global identity and dominates the global market.
People, Planet and Profit are interlinked
The Prime Minister called for reviving the historical superiority of Bengal in manufacturing. Taking inspiration from “What Bengal thinks today, India Thinks Tomorrow” PM 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 price of LED bulbs compared to 6 years ago, which had led to savings of about Rs 19 thousand crores in electricity bills every year. That is, Profit for both people and the planet. He also said that 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.
Approach of People Centric, People Driven and Planet Friendly Development
He cited another example, the campaign to free the country from single use plastic. He said that it will benefit West Bengal by furthering the Jute business. He urged the industry to take advantage of the opportunity further. He also said that approaches of People Centric, People Driven and Planet Friendly Development have now become a part of Governance in the country. “Our Technological Interventions are also compatible with the idea of People, Planet and Profit.”
RuPay Card and UPI
The Prime Minister said that 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 favorite 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 not. He said it has been made possible to deliver the necessary support to millions of beneficiaries without leakage through DBT, JAM (Jandhan Aadhaar Mobile).
He also highlighted how small self help groups, MSMEs can benefit by providing their goods and services directly to the Government of India 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 the Solar Panel in the country. He also called for handholding of MSMEs, of such institutions, who are engaged in this work.
Quoting from Guruvar 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.
The Prime Minister also hailed the ICC’s contribution for the development of industries in East India and the North East.