New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Monday stressed the need for easier entry norms, an internationally compatible taxation regime, improved trade facilitation and a better enabling environment as key for revival of manufacturing while blaming the high cost of capital for the growth slowdown witnessed in the sector.

Speaking at a workshop on ‘Make in India’ attended by industry and state and central government officials, Jaitley stressed the need for India to become a hub for low-cost quality manufacturing.

“If we do not take concrete steps now, we will be threatened with a situation where we will become a nation of traders rather than a nation of manufacturers," he said.

The day-long workshop aims to come up with a clear course of action to boost manufacturing in India over the short term and medium term with around 25 thrust sectors.

Admitting that arresting the slowdown in manufacturing is a major challenge for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in the coming months, Jaitley said India has the potential to become a major manufacturing hub, but pointed out that steps need to be taken to “put our house in order."

He stressed on the need for cohesion between the central and state governments as well as various other institutions to ensure stability in policy.

Jaitley also reiterated the government’s commitment to ease land laws calling the existing process of obtaining land under the land acquisition Act complicated and time-consuming for industry. He also stressed the need for an improvement in the patent record.

In a subtle criticism of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) monetary stance of maintaining policy rates to curb inflation, Jaitley said that “cost of capital is one singular factor that has attributed to lower manufacturing growth."

Growth in the manufacturing sector has been volatile. In October, factory output contracted by 4.2% for the first time in seven months, dragged down by manufacturing which contracted 7.6% from a year earlier.

Cabinet secretary Ajit Seth said the government will integrate more central government services into the e-biz portal to improve the ease of doing business, after Employees’ State Insurance Corporation integrated its services with the portal. “Eight more central government services will be integrated with the e-biz portal in the next one month," he said.

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