17 Nov : Addressing the Plenary Session on “Securing Opportunities for Inclusive Growth in India” at the India Economic Summit here today, Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry has stated that India’s reform process has allowed millions of poor people to cross the poverty threshold and added that there is still a lot of room for further reforms in key areas such as public private partnerships, financial sector, and taxation, among others. He said that much action remains on the agenda table for integrating further with the global economy and becoming a vital link in the international supply chain of goods and services, funds and capital, and resources and talent. The 3-day (16-18 November) Summit is being jointly organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and World Economic Forum.
Shri Kamal Nath emphasised that inclusive growth ultimately depends on the productivity of the overall workforce, which in turn is dependent on its education, skill development, technical and professional education, and talent resource levels. India’s workforce numbers around 500 million people and is expected to expand by about 20 million each year for the next ten years. “But 600 million people continue to depend on agriculture as a source of livelihood. While agriculture has been expanding at close to 3% annually, there is need to move people off the land in order to enhance their productivity and increase their incomes”, he added.
Speaking about India’s engagement with the world, Shri Kamal Nath said that India’s total exports in 2004-05 was at $ 83.5 billion, whereas in 2007-08, it exceeded the targets and achieved a doubling of trade to $163 billion and this year, for the period April to September export growth was 31% over the same period last year. At the same time, we continue to be a solid market for overseas goods, he underlined and added that India’s imports have gone up from $ 112 billion in 2004-05 to $ 251 billion in 2007-08 and non-oil imports increased at a rapid clip of 43%. “When we include export and import of services, our external engagement can be placed at over $ 525 billion for the past year, which adds up to more than half of GDP. This is unprecedented in India’s modern economic history”, he said
As regards the foreign direct investment is concerned, the Minister has stated that the world would benefit tremendously from a stable, large and growing consumer market provided by India and added that this is not the time for foreign investors to give up on India. Foreign investors who withdraw equity investments or shelve FDI plans in India will find themselves behind the curve as our economy picks up its 9-10% pace once again.