Seeing a major opportunity for India in the global economic turmoil, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked the Indian industry to show "greater appetite" for risk taking and to invest more. He made this call at a meeting of the industry and business leaders, bankers and economists at his residence to brainstorm over how to convert the global turmoil into an opportunity for India. At the three hour long interaction, the government promised steps to boost investment in infrastructure and make it easier to do business so as to attract global capital.
The Prime Minister urged the Indian industry to show greater appetite for risk taking and to boost their contribution to domestic investment. "At today's meeting, we agreed that we should look at the scenario today as an opportunity for India that must be seized," Modi tweeted calling the meeting "productive". "We had insightful & constructive discussions on economic issues", he said outlining the steps taken by his government towards facilitating startups, boosting skill development and MUDRA bank.
In a nutshell, the participants felt the global situation, especially the volatility in the capital and currency markets, is a transient phase and that steps should be taken to strengthen the real economy. India Inc pitched for an interest rate cut as well as hastening the approval process. In his concluding remarks at the end of over three hour meeting, the Prime Minister referred to the global economic situation and urged the captains of industry to take risks.
Since you regard this as a great opportunity for India, it is for India's private sector also now to increase their own investments. "Conventionally, compared to others, the private sector has greater risk taking ability because their entrepreneurship emanates out of risk taking", Modi said. He also stressed on the steps being taken by the Union Government to boost skill development for the 65 percent of the population below 30 years of age.
The Prime Minister urged the Captains of Industry to take the lead in setting up "innovation and skill hubs" which could boost startups in their respective sectors of business. Participants at the meeting emphasized that India was seen as the bright spot in the global economy and highlighted importance of focusing on infrastructure, job creation, improving ease of doing business, a statement on Modi's twitter account said.
Also discussed at the meeting were recent government initiatives like Make in India, Digital India, Jan Dhan Yojana and Direct Benefit Transfers; as well as sector specific subjects such as in the areas of agriculture, agri infrastructure, food processing, pharmaceuticals and renewable energy. The participants underlined the need to use the current global environment to ensure long term energy security through suitable policy interventions.
They stressed on the need to create a viable ecosystem for StartUps and self employment to flourish. Overall, the conclusion was that the current situation is a major opportunity for India, which should be seized. Appreciating the constructive atmosphere and enthusiasm among the delegates, Prime Minister said the brainstorming session was the first such interaction. It was an occasion to deliberate on roadmap in the present situation.
He identified agriculture, ocean economy and space as important areas with huge economic potential for India and said India has huge potential for capacity enhancement for the global knowledge economy. Prime Minister laid thrust on low cost manufacturing and felt the strength of economy lies in its huge human resource, size of domestic market and that it is not entire export dependent. He suggested that small and medium enterprises sector and using MNERGA funds can become a possible tool for skill development. The new Mudra Bank can support unorganised sector. Transparency in governance will lead to early decisions, he added.
"What we are looking at is different steps to strengthen the Indian economy", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after the meeting called to discuss 'Recent Global Events: Opportunities for India'. Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Tata Group head Cyrus P Mistry, Aditya Birla Group head Kumar Mangalam Birla, Sunil Bharti Mittal of Bharti Airtel and ITC chief Y C Deveshwar were among the industry leaders who attended the meeting.
RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya and economists like Subir Gokaran and Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian as well as Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagriya were also present. On the industry's demand for an interest rate cut, the Finance Minister said it was the domain of the Reserve Bank to set monetary policy. "There was no discussion on timeframe or any such thing. Neither did the Governor say this nor was this an opportunity to say this", he said.
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