“Connect, Act, Transform”– ICC Theme for 2016-‘17
The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has set it’s Theme for 2016-’17 as – “Connect, Act, Transform”, which refers to the overall growth & development of the country through substantial and sustained improvements in infrastructure & connectivity ; prudent , reform-oriented and timely Policy Actions & implementations ; and a dynamic Transformation of the economy enabled by key strategies undertaken in some core areas & sectors.
Clearly, connectivity & infrastructure development holds the key to India’s further progress & future development. Infrastructure sector is a major driver for the Indian economy and enjoys intense focus from Government for initiating policies that would ensure time-bound creation of world class infrastructure in the country. Mr Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, and Shipping, has announced the Government’s target of Rs 25 trillion (US$ 376.53 billion) investment in infrastructure over a period of three years, which will include Rs 8 trillion (US$ 120.49 billion) for developing 27 industrial clusters and an additional Rs 5 trillion (US$ 75.30 billion) for road, railway and port connectivity projects. India needs Rs 31 trillion (US$ 454.83 billion) to be spent on infrastructure development over the next five years, with 70 per cent of funds needed for power, roads and urban infrastructure segments. Connectivity & Infrastructure development through Private-Public-Partnerships(PPPs) will be crucial for India’s future growth and the Govt. plans to award 100 highway projects under the PPP mode in 2016, with expectations that recent amendments in regulations would revive investor sentiments in PPP projects in the infrastructure sector. Also, the Govt.’s “Digital India” initiative which aims to make various utilities available to the citizens through cutting-edge digital infrastructure, and is designed to enable delivery of services like banking to service centers at the doorstep of citizens with the assistance of high speed internet, can take India to the next level of growth. The initiative will also improve governance and will bring everything in the palms of Govt. employees across departments and places, thus helping them to provide services to people in real time, cutting across every hindrance. Thus, “Connect” refers not only to enhancement in physical connectivity or infrastructure development, but also connectivity between people, Govt. organisations, Institutions, so that a holistic development process through knowledge & information sharing can be ushered in and timely actions can be taken.
It is without any doubt that it is necessary to take reforms forward through timely action and implementation of policies & programmes. Issues like early rollout of the GST, boosting Infrastructure through PPPs , revival of Manufacturing, a more liberalised FDI regime etc. must be effectively addressed by prudent Policy Actions for enabling India to grow at a rate between 7-8% on a sustained basis. There has to be a strong push to time-bound Policy Actions and the reform agenda to retain the fastest growing large economy tag and help India move towards becoming a more developed economy. For India to realise its full potential for the next few decades, the country certainly needs to pursue its programme for economic growth more vigorously to suitably address the issues of employment generation and poverty alleviation.
Though today India’s growth figures are encouraging and India has outstripped China in terms of GDP growth rate, in order to sustain this momentum, the country needs to transform itself through various key reforms. Transformation of the Indian economy , as outlined in Union Budget 2016-’17 would depend upon the 9 pillars : Agriculture & Farmer Welfare ; Rural Sector ; Social Sector including Healthcare ; Educational Skills & Job Creation ; Infrastructure investment ; Financial sector reforms ; Governance reforms & Ease of Doing Business ; Prudent Management of Government finances ; Tax reforms to reduce compliance burden. Also, Missions like “Smart Cities” and “Swachh Bharat” which are intended to boost the Urban Development & Urban Renewal processes in the country, can go a long way in creating world-class cities & prosperous economic zones spread across States & Regions.
Against this backdrop, the ICC, under the leadership of it’s new Office-Bearers , is committed to partner the Government during the coming year, in all it’s future developmental strategies and create initiatives aligned with the Theme of “Connect, Act, Transform” which are meaningful, and can act as strong facilitators for sustainable and inclusive growth.