Higher exports, attracting investment focus areas for PM
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday met with the ministers and top officials from infrastructure and commerce ministries, to discuss ways to boost local manufacturing and exports amid continuing tensions with China, officials familiar with the matter said.
“Various presentations were made in the meeting where issues discussed were primarily around improving ease of doing business, an export-focused manufacturing policy and how to encourage states to compete with each other to attract investment,” one of the officials privy to discussions at the two-and-a-half-hour meeting told ET.
“The meeting was a continuation of the series of meetings which have been chaired by the PM in the last several days,” another senior government official said.
As India tries to reassess its trade ties with China, the government is reassessing ways and means to encourage substitution of goods imported from the neighbour. As reported by ET on June 20, the government has asked industry to submit a detailed list of imports from China across essential and non-essential categories. India has barred Chinese firms from supplying critical communications infrastructure such as 4G equipment to state-run telecom companies and could even extend that to cover private telecom players.
Saturday’s meeting came after an informal group of ministers comprising textiles minister Smriti Irani, minister of state for shipping and chemicals Mansukh Mandaviya and power minister RK Singh met with the industry on Friday to take feedback on non-fiscal measures that could be undertaken to give an impetus to manufacturing and exports, including reducing turnaround time at ports, roping states to improve infrastructure, self-certification and power, among others.
“There is a broader emphasis to reach out to people at the grass-roots level through official and informal groups such as this and to listen to everyone as the country finalises its manufacturing and industrial policy,” a third official said.
Among the non-fiscal measures being discussed right now are labour, ease of doing business, cost of doing business and coordinating the efforts of the Centre and states in a bid to attract more investment.
The industry has highlighted that as the government tries to make India a global manufacturing and exports hub, logistical and infrastructure bottlenecks remain, and hold back India’s progress. “Turnaround time at ports is a major issue, especially for industries such as textiles, but the recent Covid-crisis has given a major fillip to the process of digitisation and has helped reduce the face time between people, showing us how to save on time,” the third official said.