NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that as the country goes through challenging times amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the government and the industry need to take bold decisions to grow rather than taking a conservative stance.
Addressing the 95th annual plenary session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) through video conference, Modi outlined the reform measures undertaken under the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' economic package.
"The NE region can be turned into an organic capital. If members of the ICC can think on this line it can snowball into a huge organic movement with a global identity. People-centric and planet-friendly development has always been the key priority of our governance. We have empowered our farmers to a great extent. We need to take benefit of the present situation," Modi said.
As recent decisions taken by the Centre for farmers have freed agriculture economy from years of slavery, Modi said that like Sikkim there is a huge opportunity lying in the entire north-eastern region to be developed as a hub for organic farming.
The Prime Minister also acknowledged the contribution of the ICC for developing the manufacturing sector in the East and Northeast India.
The Prime Minister said: "India is facing a lot of challenges — be it COVID-19 pandemic, locust swarms invasion, cyclone Amphan, mild tremors and recently the gas well explosion in Assam's Tinsukia. The corona pandemic would be the turning point for all of us as India becomes self-reliant due to this crisis. Time has come to become self-reliant and we must turn this crisis into an opportunity."
Talking of the "bold" reforms the government has taken and what the country's business environment requires, Modi said it is time to move from "command and control" mode to "plug and play" mode, implying the minimal requirement of government intervention in businesses.
He said that the country needs to make this pandemic a turning point for the country and make itself self reliant. India should be able to produce every product that it imports, Modi said.
The Prime Minister further said that the industry needs to have a globally competitive domestic supply chain.
Referring to the much talked about relationship of environment, livelihood and industries, Modi said that "people, planet and profit" should be the focus of business, which according to him can be balanced.
Citing the creation of the International Solar Alliance as a "great opportunity", he noted that Indian companies should invest in the research and development (R&D) for solar equipment manufacturing and solar battery storage which would help companies cater to all the three aspects of "people, planet and profit".
According to him, timely investment in R&D for solar rechargeable batteries would be the next big thing and will give India the edge in this emerging sector.
He also asked the Kolkata-based industry body to come up with investments in the segment of jute bags and other accessories as the country moves towards a plastic-free future.
Talking of the banking reforms taken by the government in the past few years, he said that those considered "have-nots" also have bank accounts now under the Jan Dhan scheme.
Asking the industry to move ahead and invest more to achieve growth, he assured them of government's commitment to support businesses and corporates.
The Prime Minister said that the banking services have also reached the poorest sections of the society. The economy has also become cashless due to the UPI usage. Modi urged the ICC to set big targets to be achieved by 2025 when the business body will celebrate its 100-year anniversary.
Earlier on June 2, Prime Minister Modi had also addressed the annual general meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), through a similar video conference. (IANS)
Also watch: Evening Bulletin | 8th June, 2020