New Delhi/Kolkata: Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered the inaugural address of the 95th Annual Plenary Session of the Kolkata-based Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) via video conferencing. The Prime Minister started his address in Bengali saying, “Nomoshkar, asha kori apnara sabai bhalo achen. (Namaskar, hope you are all well)”.
Referring to the war against the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister said India is putting up a brave front along with the entire world. He said the country is also facing various other problems arising out of disasters like locust attacks, hailstorms, Oil Rig Fires, series of mini earthquakes and two cyclones, but that the nation is fighting these problems in unison.
Reinforcing his “Aatma Nirbhar Bharat” mission, PM Narendra Modi said, “Every citizen of this country has resolved to turn this crisis into an opportunity. We have to make this a major turning point for this nation. What is that turning point? A self-reliant India.”
PM Modi said with the challenge thrown by COVID19, we are now determined to make India a self-reliant nation adding that the government is speedily implementing the policies declared to make the country self-reliant.
PM Modi spoke at length about the government’s plan to make India self-reliant and urged people to go “vocal for local” to help develop local manufacturing and businesses.
PM said, “We must all work towards making India an exporter of all products which it is currently forced to import. Appreciating the efforts of small traders, he said that when we buy local produce from them, we are not just paying them for their goods and services, but are rewarding their contributions.”
PM Modi also drew inspiration from Swami Vivekananda and said, “The simplest method to be worked upon at present is to induce Indians to use their own products and get markets for Indian products in other countries.” He said that this path shown by Swami Vivekananda is an inspiration for India in post-COVID world.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also went on to say that it is time to take the Indian economy out of “command and control” and take it towards “plug and play”, adding that this is not the time for a conservative approach.
“Now it is time to make each village, district of the country self-reliant.” he said and called for pulling the Indian economy out of ‘command and control’ mode and taking it towards ‘plug and play’ mode.
He said it is time for bold decisions & bold investments, to prepare a globally competitive domestic supply chain and not for conservative approaches. He was listing the sectors in which India should attain Aatma Nirbhar.
Prime Minister listed the major reforms announced under Aatma Nirbhar Bharat campaign like expanding the scope of definition of MSMEs, arranging special funds to support MSMEs, decision related to IBC, creation of Project Development Cells for fast tracking of investments.
While talking about West Bengal, PM Modi said we have to revive the historical superiority of Bengal in manufacturing sector.
Taking inspiration from “What Bengal thinks today, India Thinks Tomorrow” PM urged the industry to move forward. He further said that People, Planet and Profit are interlinked to each other. All three can simultaneously flourish and co-exist.
PM gave an example of the reduction in price of LED bulbs compared to 6 years ago, which had led to savings of about Rs 19 thousand crores in electricity bills every year. That is, Profit for both people and the planet. He also said that other schemes and decisions of the government in the last 5-6 years have been based on the concept of people, planet and profits.
He also highlighted how people benefit from using waterways, how it reduces the cost of Logistics and that the planet also benefits from less fuel burn.
He also said that the ongoing initiative to get rid of single-use-plastic could prove beneficial for West Bengal because it can give a boost to the jute industry.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi further said, “North-East India can become a huge hub of organic farming and the capital for organic products with its own identity in the world.”
Talking about organic products, PM said, “Just like Sikkim, the entire North-East can become a huge hub for organic farming. It can become the organic capital.” He said that Organic farming can become a huge movement in the North East, if it is made a global identity and dominates the global market.
Hailing the recent policy decisions taken in the field of agriculture, the Prime Minister said that the agricultural economy has been liberated from years of restrictions. Now the farmers of India have the freedom to sell their product, their produce anywhere in the country.
The Prime Minister said that Banking services have become Touchless, Contactless, Cashless and works 24 x 7 through UPI. He urged the use of Rupay Cards for creating a self-reliant India.
He also highlighted how small self help groups, MSMEs can benefit by providing their goods and services directly to the Government of India on the GeM platform.
He urged the industry to invest in R&D and manufacturing of better Batteries to increase the power storage capacity of the Solar Panel in the country. He also called for handholding of MSMEs, of such institutions, who are engaged in this work.
Quoting from Guruvar Tagore’s famous poem “Nutan Juger Bhor”, the Prime Minister exhorted the Industry to understand the opportunities available in the current challenges and said that only marching feet can create a new path. There should be no delay now, he said.
He also praised the role of the Indian Chamber of Commerce. “ICC has contributed to the development of Eastern India and North-East India and especially supported the manufacturing sector.” he said.
Earlier on June 2, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the annual general meeting of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), through a video conference. He had said that Indian industries should take advantage of the trust developed towards India as the world is looking for a trusted and reliable partner.