87th Annual General Meeting

25th July - 25th July, 2015 at Kolkata, India



In the 87th Annual General Meeting of the Indian Chamber of Commerce held on 25th July 2015 in Kolkata, Mr Babul Supriyo, Hon’ble Minister of State for Urban Development, Government of India, viewed that the present Union Government has a very clear focus and action plan to propel growth for India. The ‘Make in India’ has to be done at local levels to unshackle the low level of growth. It calls for right infrastructure and business environment to draw investment from domestic as well as foreign investors, he felt. According to him, recently lack of efficiency in fund utilization remains a challenge for different states including West Bengal. Urbanization would become impossible if rural India can not support itself. At present 39% of Indians reside at urban area which is expected to accelerate sharply in the next decade. To stop the exodus from rural to urban India, he felt, we need to move the mission of “Make in India” in rural space. The need of the hour is to create enough jobs for rural populace, abolish red tapism and most importantly coordinate amongst different layers of Governance within the federal structure. The Government is on the right path of urban development with the inclusion of 500 cities under the ambit of JNNURM and allocation of Rs 48,000 crore funds for developing 100 Smart Cities.

Dr. Bibek Debroy, Member, Niti Ayog, opined as the economic and social welfare originates through the private sector, it necessitates the need to decentralize from all the layers of Governance. The more relevant role of the Government comes into play in terms of better delivery of public goods and services and if the Government is efficient enough in providing these basic facilities, it automatically reduces the need of subsidy. He felt that inclusive growth can not be achieved keeping aside the Eastern part of India which is blessed with large demographic dividend, rich reserve of natural resources and close proximity with neighbouring nations. To promote growth East India including West Bengal first and foremost needs to revive its small scale industries both in manufacturing as well as service sector. Improving physical infrastructure particularly rural roadways is a precondition for augmenting growth and development in this part of the country, according to Dr Debroy.

In an attempt to demystify the myths around rural India Dr Soumyakanti Ghosh, Chief Economic Advisor, State Bank of India, touched upon some interesting factsheets to elaborate its huge growth momentum. While revenue growth for banks in rural India is much higher than the national average, credit and deposit growth rates are also significantly higher than the average for India. By 2025, per capita household income is expected to grow by 6.2%. 70% of new manufacturing jobs are created in rural India and 51% CAGR is registered in telecommunication in last 4 years. Active internet users comprise 7% of total rural population out of which 50% use internet through mobiles and cyber cafes. Rural India also has shown encouraging trends under Jan Dhan scheme. Percentage of Jan Dhan accounts with zero balance accounts declined sharply from 80% in September 2014 to 50% in June 2015 with considerable rise in average balance. Rural CPI, the most reliable indicator of rural demand, increased significantly in recent times on account of increased spending on consumer goods.

Mr. Amitabh Kant, Union Secretary, DIPP, Government of India felt long term growth demands a strong manufacturing base, which can be rightfully facilitated through India’s participation in the global value chain, and in various trading blocs, worldwide. Old, archaic laws should be dismantled, especially those relating to land acquisition and labour and should be replaced by simple, consensus based frameworks, which can foster ‘Ease of Doing Business’ for domestic and international investors in the country, he added. India should promote greater domestic patent registration to emerge as an innovation hub for R&D in the world, offering world class solutions at competitive prices. Frugal engineering should be the order of the day, he said. He remarked that technology should integrate functioning of government departments, judiciary should be more pro-active in dispute mitigation and investors should be provided easy entry and exit options to augment FDI inflow into the country. Mr. Kant called for planned urbanization and introduction of smart cities in India. He felt the education system should be revamped to create more incubation centers for promoting entrepreneurship.

Mr. Arun Maira, Former Member, Planning Commission of India felt that India should opt for a more job inducive growth process, with due focus on labour intensive manufacturing. The focus should be on increasing the growth pie in a sustainable manner with due diligence towards maintenance of environmental standards/resources. He felt the “Make in India” initiative should be promoted as the prime vehicle for inclusive growth in the country. Competitiveness and enterprise learning in manufacturing calls for increased investment in human resources, he added. Increasing female work force participation is also an imperative.

Mr Saugata Bhattacharya, Chief Economist, Axis Bank, Mr Arun Maira, Former Member, Planning Commission, dwelled on the creation of world class payment systems for India.

The outgoing President of Indian Chamber of Commerce Mr Roopen Roy elaborated upon the fundamentals of “make in India” campaign. The incoming President of ICC Mr Shiv Siddhant Narayan Kaul proposed the formal Vote of Thanks.

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Indian Chamber of Commerce
Phone : 033-2253-4200 / 033-2230-3242-44

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