Delivering the keynote address of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Annual Meeting today (Wednesday, 11 August), via video-conferencing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India's economy is picking up once again and that the country is "taking major leaps" in the Ease of Doing Business Ranks.
The theme of the prime minister's speech for the conference, was 'India@75: Government and Business Working Together for Aatmanirbhar Bharat'. This event is expected to draw about 6,000 guests including India's political and business leaders as well as CII members and partners and will end on Thursday.
Founded in 1895, the CII is a membership-based organisation and non-governmental advocacy and trade association group that “engages in academic, business, political and other leaders of the society to shape regional, global, and industry agendas.
The opening session, moderated by Dr Naushad Forbes, co-chairman of India-headquartered engineering firm Forbes Marshall and former president of CII, also saw a speech from Singapore’s deputy prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.
From India's economy to retrospective tax and Make-In-India, Modi touched on a slew of subjects during his address. He said the domestic industry needs to enhance its risk-taking appetite. He also said that taking reforms is a matter of conviction for the government, which is ready to take all risks in the national interest.
"We have taken bold decisions. Reforms continued even during pandemic. The government is doing reforms not out of compulsion but out of conviction," he said. Assuring all support to the industry, Modi said that India is receiving record foreign direct investment (FDI) because of reforms done in the last few years. He added that now Indians want made in India goods irrespective of the origin of the company that is producing the goods.
On growth of startups in the country, he said India now has 60 unicorns, 21 of them reaching that status in the last few months.
Here are the highlights of the prime minister's speech:
- "This meeting of CII is taking place this time in the atmosphere of 75th Independence Day, in the midst of Amrit Mahotsav of Azaadi. This is a big opportunity, for new resolutions, for new goals of the Indian industry. The huge responsibility for the success of the self-reliant India campaign is on Indian industries."
- "All friends and organisations in industry are a major part of India's growth story. With the efforts of all of you, India's economy is picking up pace once again. There is rarely a day when a CEO doesn't issue a statement or there's not a report on new opportunities."
- "Given all the trials that we have experienced, it is good to see that the government and industries have been able to maintain their partnership. IT sector has seen record hiring. The success of Atmanirbhar Bharat lies with our industries."
- "Parliament recently passed laws that will help our industries grow. We have also taken the decision to end retrospective tax. We not only introduced GST...but we are seeing record collections."
- "India has risen in the ease of doing business index. India has also witnessed record FDI."
- "FPI investment is also making new records due to several efforts of the government. Today, the country's forex reserve is on an all-time high."
- "It is the result of the country's faith in our industry that today the ease of doing business is increasing, and the ease of living is increasing. The changes made in the Companies Act are a big example of this."
- "Today the situation is changing rapidly. Today the sentiment of the countrymen is with the products made in India. It is not necessary that the company should be Indian, but today every Indian wants to adopt products made in India. Today's new India is ready, ready to move with the new world. India which was once apprehensive of foreign investment, today it is welcoming all kinds of investment.
- "There was a time when we used to think that whatever is foreign is better. What was the result of this psychology, industry veterans like you understand very well. Even our own brands, which we had built after years of hard work, were promoted under foreign names only."
- "Another factor which you need to focus on is, the growing self-confidence of Indians. You have experienced this in the Olympics. Today, when the youth of India enter the field, they do not have that hesitation.. They want to work hard, they want to take risks, they want to bring results. Yes, we belong to this place. We are seeing this sentiment in our youth today. Similar confidence is in India's startups today."
- "The agriculture sector was once considered to be just a medium of livelihood. But now, efforts are being made to connect Indian farmers with the domestic and global markets through historic reforms in the agriculture sector."
'India has key role': Singapore deputy pm
India has an important role to play in contributing to the diversification of the global supply chain and making it more resilient, Singapore’s Deputy prime minister said as he urged New Delhi to consider greater economic integration with Southeast Asia to unlock its vast potential. Heng also underlined the importance of the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, a broad base free trade agreement, The Straits Times newspaper reported.
Heng said that the Southeast Asian region and India have many complementary strengths, adding that the jurisdictions should build on these to restore connectivity and enhance supply chains in the post-pandemic era. "India has an important role to play in contributing to the diversification of the global supply chain and making it more resilient," Heng was quoted as saying in the report.
"Indian companies have the capability, scale and resources to serve more than just its domestic market, huge as it is," Heng said.
Heng noted that Singapore is keen to partner India to better integrate their digital economies and collaborate in new areas like fintech and sustainability.
"As more activities go digital as a result of the pandemic, there is an even greater impetus to accelerate our efforts to integrate our digital realms, and enable the more seamless flow of data, services and payments," Singapore Daily quoted Heng conveying the technology message to the Indian business community.
With inputs from PTI