New Delhi: Changes taking place in world trade provide India with a great opportunity and its trade policy must focus of ‘scalability’ and ‘sellability’ in order to grow as an economy in the future, commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu said on Monday.

“We have a great opportunity in front of us and are devising a strategy to work with the World Trade Organization multilaterally and with the respective nations bilaterally. At the current point everybody is questioning what was accepted as normal," Prabhu told the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

Domestically, the disparity in growth and income between southern and western parts of the country on the one hand and the eastern and northern corners on the other is also a hindrance to economic growth, according to Amitabh Kant, chief executive of Niti Aayog—the government’s policy making arm.

Another problem, according to Kant, is that often policy making happens on the basis of data that is outdated.

“The union government has identified 115 districts that are really poor and score extremely low on parameters like education, health facilities and financial exclusion. Adequate resources are available in these districts but there has been a failure in governance," added Kant.

Kant said that if India needs to grow its economy at a rate of 9-10% then moving up the Human Development Index is the key.

Corporate entities should also play their part in bringing development to these backward districts across the country, he added.

Hardeep Singh Puri, a former diplomat and union minister for state for Housing and Urban Development, said that a definition of smart cities that is rigid does not serve any purpose and to decongest existing cities, India will have to build smart cities.

“For the last 60 years, we have subjected our cities to criminal neglect. We did not even have a real estate regulator. A smart city for me is one that improves the ease of living. I don’t blame the people settled at the unauthorized colonies since they are the victims of flawed policies," added Puri.

The union government in this year’s annual budget launched its ambitious National Health Protection Scheme, which aims to provide free healthcare to 40% of the population.

“I really appreciate what Niti Aayog has done for healthcare and it is a giant leap for mankind since the scheme would cover 40% of the population. I like the fact that they are looking at converting primary healthcare centres to wellness centres," said Sunita Reddy, managing director, Apollo Hospitals enterprise Ltd.

Kant said the Niti Aayog has put out the names of the worst performing districts on their website as naming and shaming is the only way India would improve. The improvements in different parameters of these districts are also updated on the website.

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