Modi says committed to make India a manufacturing hub

India is front-runner in drawing FDI: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that, through the Make in India initiative, his government was committed to transforming India as a major player in the global value chain and make it a manufacturing hub.
"At the same time, we want our youth to be job creators; not just job seekers. For this purpose, we have launched drives called Start up India and Stand up India," he said in his address at the ASEAN Business & Investment Summit here.
Mr. Modi told the gathering that there was a lot that India and the Philippines share in common.
"We are both pluralistic societies and vibrant democracies. Our economies are among the fastest growing economies in the world. We have large, young and aspiring populations that are innovative and enterprising. The Philippines is a services power house just as India is," he said.
Mr. Modi noted that, just as in India, in the Philippines, too, the government wanted to see change, bring about inclusive growth, develop infrastructure, and fight corruption. "No wonder so many of our top IT companies have invested here. They are creating thousands of jobs and promoting the Philippines services sector worldwide," he said.
Referring to the dance drama Rama Hari based on the Ramayana, staged at the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Summit, depicted the way, historically, the people of India and ASEAN were bound together. 
"These are not only historical bonds. This is a living shared heritage. The Act East policy of my government puts this region at the centre of our engagement. We have exceptionally good political and people-to-people relations with each and every country in the ASEAN region. We wish to bring our economic and business relations up to the same level," he said.
Mr. Modi said the task of transforming India is proceeding on an unprcedented scale. "We are working day and night to ensure good governance which includes easy, effective and transparent governance," he said.
In this context, he referred to the open auction for natural resources in the country, including telecom spectrum, coal mines, minerals and private radio channels and said these had contributed about $ 75 billion in revenue.
"Using technology, we are enhancing responsibility and reducing discretion and corruption. We are using our Unique ID system in financial transactions and taxation for this purpose and the results are already visible. These steps, coupled with demonetization of high value notes has resulted in formalizing a large part of our economy. The number of new tax payers filing income tax returns has more than doubled. Digital transactions have increased by 34 per cent in one year, as we march towards a less-cash economy. We have used technology to reach out to people. An online citizen engagement platform, MyGov has harnessed ideas, suggestions and inputs on policies and programmes from 2 million pro-active citizens," he said.
The Prime Minister also mentioned PRAGATI (Pro-active Governance and Timely Implemntation), the repeal of 1200 outdated laws, new laws and institutions for bankruptcy and insolvency as well as IPR and arbitration, simplied industrial licensing and online application processes for environment and forest clearances.
He referred to India's jump by 30 places to 100 in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index this year and the improvement in its rankings in the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum; the  Global Innovation Index of WIPO; and the Logistics Performance Index of 2016 of the World Bank.
Mr. Modi said most sectors of the Indian economy were now open for foreign direct investment (FDI), with more than 90 percent of FDI sectors on an automatic approval route. "Compared to last three years, we have received 67 per cent more FDI in this year. Now, we are a globally integrated economy. Moreover, these milestones have been achieved even before some of the major recent reforms," he said.
"This year in July, we have implemented the highly complex task of migrating to a uniform Goods and Services Tax (GST) for the whole country. This has done away with a vast range of State level and central level taxes throughout India. This is no small achievement given the vastness and diversity of our country and the federal nature of our polity. At the same time, we strongly believe that this is not enough," he said.
Mr. Modi went on to speak about steps being taken by the Government to ensure financial inclusion, including  the Jan Dhan Yojana and the issuance of Ru-pay  cards.
"Access to banking services by the poor has also played a major role in tackling corruption in government. Now, subsidies meant for the poor get directly deposited into their accounts in the form of direct benefit transfers, eliminating leakages and possibility of any discrimination. More than 146 million people are receiving direct cash subsidies through bank accounts on cooking gas alone. Today, the government is using Direct Benefit Transfers for 59 different schemes. Subsidies worth nearly 10 billion US dollars are being directly transferred to the bank accounts of the intended beneficiaries," he said.
Mr. Modi also mentioned the Mudra scheme, under which collateral-free loans are being disbursed to small entrepreneurs.
He said that, for the near future, South and South East Asia will be the growth engine of the world. Hence, building connectivity with ASEAN is a key objective for India. "We wish to build land, sea and air connectivity to this dynamic region. Work is already on in the construction of the tri-lateral highway through Myanmar and Thailand to connect to other countries in South East Asia," he said.
He said the Government  was working on the early conclusion of the Agreement on Maritime Transport between India and ASEAN and exploring coastal shipping services with countries that are India's immediate maritime neighbours.
"In the area of air connectivity, ASEAN countries enjoy the facility to operate a daily service to the four metro cities in India and to eighteen other destinations. We have taken steps such as electronic visa system to boost tourism to India. Outbound tourism from India is growing at one of the fastest rates in the world. Given the primacy of connectivity, India is organising an ASEAN – India Connectivity Summit in New Delhi next month with Ministers, officials and business representativs from all ASEAN countries participating.
"Just as India sees business opportunities in the region, I am sure that the ASEAN business community recognises the potential for business in India. While some of you are already deeply involved in India, others are just discovering the possibilities that remain to be tapped. To coincide with the ASEAN –India Commemorative Summit of ASEAN leaders in January next year, we are also organising the ASEAN-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo. I invite you all to attend it. It will be the biggest ASEAN-focused business event India has ever organised. India wishes to participate in your growth story and we invite all of ASEAN to participate in ours," he added.


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