Gandhinagar: In his remarks at the CEO Conclave at Gandhinagar, The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi reiterated that India is witnessing a new era of development and the Union Government has set in motion policies and initiatives targeted at creating strong, vibrant and inclusive India.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the terrorism is a threat to the humanity and the time has come for all humanitarian forces to join together to resolve the problem of terrorism. Emphasizing the need for zero tolerance for terrorism, the Prime Minister said this required political will. He added that products should reach the needy and not terrorists. The Prime Minister said that we are living in India with boundless aspirations and we need to create an ecosystem that is able to translate these aspirations into reality. Shri Modi also met seven CEOs and a delegation from U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) on the sidelines of the Conclave.
Highlights of PM’s speech at Vibrant Gujarat Summit, Gandhinagar:
Let me begin by expressing our solidarity with the people of France as they mourn their loss and come to terms with the brutal terrorist attack. As we see it spread around the world, let us pledge to work together to make sure that it will not succeed against the life that we have all gathered here to build, and the values that we stand for.
On behalf of the people of India and on my personal behalf, I welcome you all to this Summit. In January, 2013, while concluding the sixth Summit, I had extended an invitation for today’s event. Your response has been outstanding. I am glad to be here to welcome you.
On this occasion, I express my gratitude to the old partners of this event - both countries and organisations. These include Japan and Canada. Without their support, this event could not have come this far.
I also welcome warmly and thank new partners like USA, UK, Netherlands, Australia, Singapore and South Africa for joining this event. I particularly thank the Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the World Bank for their presence. It shows their commitment towards progress and prosperity in emerging economies.
Your partnership has enhanced the enterprising spirit of 60 million Gujaratis. It has boosted the morale of 1.2 billion Indians. This event is perhaps the biggest gathering on earth where, a budding entrepreneur has the opportunity to see the President of the World Bank. And where a young farmer, dreaming to set up a food processing unit, can listen to the views of the UN Secretary General on issues like food security. That is why, during one of the previous events, I had called it ‘Davos in Action.’
Friends! India has always believed that the whole world is one family (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam). Few have seen this in practice. I am informed that more than hundred countries are participating in this event.
We are here as a family not only in terms of space, but also because we recognise that
• Someone’s dream is dependent on someone’s direction;
• Someone’s success is related to someone’s support;
• Someone’s curiosity is linked to someone’s care;
This is what a family does. The ultimate objective is welfare of all. Loka Samastah Sukhinau Bhavantu.
I am sure all of us, from the Secretary General of UN to the President of the World Bank, from leaders of the strongest economies to delegations of small countries, from CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to start-up entrepreneurs, all want the planet earth to become a better place to live.
Thus, our meeting here is not just -
• A meeting of hands but also of hearts;
• It is not only a meeting of ideas, but also of aspirations
As a host to this family gathering,
As a curator of thousands of dreams floating here,
I welcome you all once again.
I hope your stay here is comfortable. I trust you will enjoy our hospitality. This is the time of Kite Festival in Gujarat. This festival gives us the message of high spirits. Do participate in it.
Friends! After becoming Prime Minister, I have travelled to the remotest parts of India and also to various parts of the world. I have been to the UN, BRICS, ASEAN, East Asian Summit, G-20 and SAARC summits. Some common worries have been expressed everywhere. The biggest concern is about the global economy. We all have to find ways for its stability and recovery. We also have to work for sustainable and inclusive growth.
We, in India, believe that problems present us with opportunities to become stronger, disciplined and innovative.
My Government is trying to generate confidence. We have prepared a team to secure a robust future. We believe that changes start with a change in mindset.
Friends! It is a matter of great pride that today, there is tremendous interest in India. Countries are coming forward to work with us. This has, of course, generated expectations from us.
India’s present as well as its rich past is being recognised. I thank the UN Secretary General for giving a formal international stature to Yoga. A record number of 177 countries supported the Indian proposal. Yoga is both a science and an art for improving human life. In today’s world, it teaches us to remain stable even in adverse situations. Friends, the 2009 edition of this event created vibrancy when the state of the global economy was depressing. The summits of 2011 and 2013 succeeded in strengthening investor confidence.
It is only because of persistence with positivity that this event of Gujarat Government has become an event for the entire country. This platform has been enlarged so that other states too can take advantage. Today, many other states have adopted this approach. The Government of India is committed to support such initiatives by any state government.
Friends! We will have to change the way we have been approaching problems. Recession is often seen just in the context of business and Industry.
Have we ever thought of recession as being the result of low per capita income in countries where a majority of the global population lives?
Have we ever thought of its solution in terms of enhancing the common man’s employability, income and purchasing power? This is the biggest task at hand in India. Mahatma Gandhi rightly talked about the last man. And Gandhiji’s message can show us the way. It is therefore appropriate that this summit is taking place in Mahatma Mandir.
An excellent multimedia exhibition on the life of the Mahatma has been set up in Dandi Kutir nearby. It portrays the life journey of Gandhiji in brief. In addition, just a few steps away from here, there is a world class mega exhibition which showcases products and services by leading companies from India and abroad. I am sure you will not miss the chance to see these magnificent exhibitions.
To me, the best outcome of this event should be inclusiveness and involvement of communities needing care and development.
Thus, this event stands for-
• Inclusiveness of small with big;
• Inclusiveness of poor with rich;
• Inclusiveness of gut feelings with mature thoughts
I assure this global platform that India wants to work with the global leadership. Be they issues of poverty or ecology, we want to contribute to welfare of the global community. We are aware that with one sixth of the world’s population, our activities will have a global impact. We are ready to learn and make this impact positive.
However, India has to be seen from a different angle. It is not just a country of today. It is also an old civilisation. It is not just a country of a few cities. It is a country of thousands of towns and several hundred thousand villages. It is a country of diverse communities. Therefore, India has its own solutions for many pressing problems.
• Our philosophy is a philosophy of conservation;
• Our culture teaches us nurturing of nature;
• Our way of life is that of harnessing
Such thoughts and practices have existed in India for centuries. Thus, whatever we will do, it will be aligned with our culture, ethos and beliefs. Because, we know, this is what will work in India.
Friends! Our last national elections marked a turning point in Indian democracy. They indicated the high aspirations of our people. This was amply reflected in the record voter participation and a clear verdict in favour of one political party after a gap of 30 years.
My government is committed to changing and improving the economic and social condition of India including the quality of life.
In a short span of seven months, we have been able to change the atmosphere of despair and uncertainty. Since the first day, my government is actively working to revive the economy. My government is committed to create a policy environment that is predictable, transparent and fair.
Friends! We are on the path of transformation. To start this process, we are making efforts to change the work culture. We have to strengthen our institutions and systems of delivery. To drive this change forcefully, we have recently re-constituted our Planning Commission. Now, it is known as NITI Ayog.
We want to promote co-operative federalism in the country. At the same time, we want a competitive element among the states to create and attract whatever is needed there. I call this new form of federalism: Co-operative and Competitive Federalism.
You may be aware that our economic growth had slowed down during the last few years. Now, my Government is putting all efforts to ensure faster and yet inclusive growth. The initial results are encouraging.
On the economic front, during the first two quarters, we registered a growth rate which was one percent higher than the previous year. The IMF has observed that India will be the 2nd fastest growing economy in the coming years.
According to the latest forecast of the OECD, India would be the only country among world`s top economies which would increase its pace of growth this year. HSBC`s latest report has identified India as the world`s largest growing exporter, which is set to move from being the fourteenth to the fifth largest exporter in the world by 2030.
On the political front also, people of various states have supported us in the recent Assembly elections.
This gives us the confidence that we are moving in right direction. Let me tell you a little about what we are doing and where we want to reach.
Friends! We are not merely making commitments and announcements. We are also backing them up with concrete action at the level of policy and practice. For example, I announced a Financial Inclusion programme. In four months, we have opened more than 100 million bank accounts.
We are planning to build smart cities equipped with world-class amenities. For this purpose, we have further liberalized the FDI policy in construction sector.
I announced that a modern rail system including high speed rails will be set up. Immediately, we opened up railways for 100% FDI. I announced that defence production in the country would be encouraged. The next step was to open the defence sector for FDI up to 49%. We have taken similar steps in many other areas. These include bringing 49% FDI in insurance. It also includes liberalization of FDI norms for manufacturing of medical devices.
Simultaneously, on the administrative front, we are actively working to provide policy driven governance. We have taken far reaching decisions to ensure supply of key natural resources. This includes coal, iron ore and other minerals. We have also amended legal provisions to facilitate availability of land. This has been done to enable development in remote areas while ensuring better returns to the farming community.
We are trying to complete the circle of economic reforms speedily. We are also keen to see that our policies are predictable. We are clear that our tax regime should be stable. In the last few months, we have taken several decisions in this direction.
We have put focus on building Infrastructure through public and private Investments. This will include national roads, national grids of gas, electricity and water. It also includes rural infrastructure, 24x7 electric supply, farm irrigation and cleaning of rivers.
In order to execute the infrastructure plan, a fast track PPP mechanism is being put in place.
We are undertaking the Sagarmala project to ensure port led development. Existing ports are being modernized. New world class ports will be developed along India`s coast. Ports will be better connected to the hinterland through road and rail. Inland and coastal waterways will be developed as major transport routes. Low cost airports are being planned to improve regional connectivity, especially to tier-two towns and places of economic and tourist importance.
We are also keen to move towards the next generation infrastructure. Just as we need highways, we need I-ways too. Under the Digital India Initiative, IT will be used to drive Government processes to improve service delivery and programme implementation, and also to provide broadband connectivity to villages.
To upgrade manufacturing Infrastructure, we are setting up world-class investment and industrial regions along the dedicated freight corridors and industrial corridors. Government of India is working towards single window clearance at the Federal and State levels.
Four months back, we launched Make In India initiative to encourage the growth of manufacturing in the country. We are working hard to make India a global manufacturing hub. We are promoting, in particular, labour intensive manufacturing.
I have launched these initiatives in a campaign mode so that they force us in the Government to make faster corrections. They challenge us to do away with the red tape and become pro-active. With this purpose, our applications and processes are being aggressively put online.
Ease of doing business in India is a prime concern for you and us I assure you that we are working very seriously on these issues We want to make them:
• Not only easier than earlier;
• Not only easier than the rest;
• But, we want to make them the easiest
Friends! Many of you might be interested to know - Why India? India has three things to its credit - Democracy, Demography and Demand. This is what you are looking for.
And I am sure, you will not find all of them together at any other destination. India offers you the potential of low cost manufacturing. India has low cost and high quality manpower. 65% of our population is below 35 years of age. We are trying to further harness these strengths through better management and good governance.
In the recently launched Mars Orbiter Mission, everything was made indigenously. In fact, most mission components were made in very small factories.
Friends! We have large number of hands to work. And, we have even larger number of dreams to be realised. Therefore, employment opportunities are being enhanced by promoting manufacturing, agro-based industries, tourism as well as services. We have undertaken labour reforms to encourage enterprise and to create a bigger job market for our youth.
I have always said that development process should benefit the common man as well as the business sector.
Therefore, my Government has established a new Ministry for skill development to enhance our human resource potential. For this, we are placing equal emphasis on knowledge, technology, innovation and research and development. This includes the use of ICT for improving governance and resource management. I understand this because I use modern tools of communication myself.
Friends! Today, India is a land of opportunities. We have to build fast track roads and railways. We have to energise homes and factories on a continuous basis. We have to build infrastructure for cities where almost half of our population lives. We have to take the taste of modern amenities to every village. We have to propel our growth through value addition in our natural resources and agri-produce. We have to provide services to our people which are of global standards. At the same time, the whole world is looking for certain services. If our human resource can be equipped with skills and technology, we may serve the world in many areas.
Thus, there are immense possibilities for global investors in India. The process of development we are taking up is not incremental. We are planning to take a quantum leap. It is not limited to one sector or region, it is truly unlimited. And we want to do things in a cleaner and greener way. We are open to ideas, investments and innovations:
• We have made commitments to our people
• We have made commitments to ourselves
• We have made commitments for India’s great future
• We have to write our new destiny
• And we have to write it in a very short time
We know that to do this, we need an enabling policy framework. We are working constantly to improve it further.
However, I can say with confidence that even today, the strength of Indian democracy and independence of our judicial system provide a level playing field for long lasting business.
I would conclude by saying that-
• We are dreaming big;
• And our dreams are numerous;
• Our dreams can become the seeds of your growth;
• Our aspirations can propel your ambitions
Friends! on behalf of the Government, let me give an assurance. We assure you that we will be available to hold your hands whenever you need us. You will find us standing with you in your journey. If you walk one step; we will walk two steps for you.
At the end, I urge you to see and realise for yourself that -
• India is changing fast;
• India is growing fast;
• India is moving faster than expected;
• India is learning even faster;
• India is ready than ever before
Let us join hands! Let us work together for progress, prosperity and peace.
Sanjay Trivedi is honorary editor of Asia Times. He is senior Indian Journalist having vast experience of 25 years. He worked in Janmabhoomi, Vyapar, Divya Bhaskar etc. newspapers and TV9 Channel as well as www.news4education.com. He is serving as Media Officer in Gujarat Technological University, the university which controlling 440 colleges of Engineering, Management, Pharmacy & Architecture colleges in Gujarat.