New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the government is keen to attract private investment into the food processing industry and to build export capacity in agro-products, both of which would go a long way in achieving the goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
At an event organized in the capital by federal policy think tank NITI Aayog to seek suggestions from more than 200 chief executive officers (CEOs) on socio-economic progress, Modi urged every business to take steps to help the agricultural economy grow. One such step, he suggested, could be giving Diwali gifts that promote khadi products. Modi said about Rs1 trillion worth of farm produce went waste every year for want of necessary infrastructure.
“If financial institutions (along with real estate) can help in making such infrastructure, it will lead to multiple benefits," added Modi.
In six groups, CEOs deliberated on ways of eliminating poverty and developing skills, stimulating manufacturing activities, building smart cities with sophisticated transportation, improving infrastructure, doubling farmers’ income and the overall development of the financial sector.
Modi said Mahatma Gandhi had made every Indian a freedom fighter, but after India became independent, the nation’s development did not become a national movement on a scale similar to that of the freedom movement. “You can become a soldier for a modern, prosperous India," Modi told the business leaders.
The interaction between business leaders and the government top brass including Prime Minister Modi, finance minister Arun Jaitley and other ministers and secretaries is an all out effort to energize the economy, for which attracting private investment and job creation are the short-term challenges. The high level of non-performing assets (NPAs) plaguing the state-dominated banking system is also a challenge. Earlier this month, Modi had consulted 212 start-up entrepreneurs.
As part of implementing a national growth plan with participation from states, NITI Aayog is set to unveil its final three-year action plan at a meeting between Jaitley and state chief ministers on Thursday. The suggestions given by the CEOs will be taken forward by both individual ministries in the central government and those important for states will be shared with them.
Suchi Mukherjee, CEO and founder of e-commerce firm LimeRoad, who participated in the two-day deliberations that started on Monday, said the “Champions of Change" initiative was a one of its kind public-private initiative where cabinet ministers, secretaries and nearly 250 entrepreneurs from across the country were invited. “Prime minister’s mission was for the Cabinet to listen in and tune in to the real problems that businesses were facing in an open panel," said Mukherjee.