In May last year, in what was the largest elections in the history of mankind, the people of India voted my Government into office. For the first time in three decades Indian voters gave a clear majority mandate to a government. The verdict was for change and for good and effective governance. It was also a call for development reflective of growing aspirations of India’s youthful millions.
In the last 11 months, we have come a long way in keeping this promise. We have re-energised the Indian growth engine. The credibility of our economy has been restored. India is once again poised for rapid growth and development. It is the only emerging economy where growth rate is rising. The prospects are even better.
This has not happened by chance. My government has earnestly taken up the challenge of development and economic transformation of India. For us, development is not a mere political agenda; it is an article of faith. We have initiated specific policies and actions to realise our vision for New Age India with a clear set of economic goals and objectives. Our focus is not merely economic growth but an inclusive development. This requires creating jobs, upgrading skills, raising productivity, benchmarking quality with global standards. Our aim is to completely eliminate poverty and to propel all Indians into a life of purpose and dignity within a generation. My own life-experience and belief in the role of good governance in India’s economic development has convinced me that this noble objective can be achieved.
Generating jobs for India’s youthful population is a key to harnessing India’s demographic advantage. This can be achieved only when we significantly and quickly ramp up our manufacturing capabilities. To meet this objective my Government has unveiled the “Make in India” initiative. This is a win-win for all. The employment opportunities that new manufacturing will generate will enhance the purchasing power of our people. This in turn will create a market for more trade and investment. With 65% of our population below the age of 35, the possibilities that India’s growth presents for global economic prosperity are immense. Through our “Act East” and “Link West” policy, India has the potential of becoming the middle ground for East and West as a manufacturing hub that serves both our vast domestic market and becomes a base for global exports and general well-being.
Our strategy for “Make in India” requires urgent creation of new infrastructure. The substantial enhancement in financing in the federal budget for highways, railways and energy is a step in this direction. Work has begun on the development of Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
My Government has pledged a stable and transparent tax regime, reducing corporate taxes and implementing a single Goods & Services Tax in 2016.
We recognize that the availability of a skilled work-force is a prerequisite for manufacturing growth. My Government is giving the highest priority to the Skills India programme. We will focus on promoting models of vocational training according to specific needs of local industry, and to adopt best practices from abroad.
We are aware that all development must be environmentally sustainable. India has always cherished its environment. This is deeply ingrained in our age-old culture and civilization. Our revised target for renewable energy capacity of 175,000 MW by 2022 is a reflection of our commitment.
Growing urbanization in India is one of our greatest challenges. The population in our cities is projected to double in 10 years. Our focus on development of Smart Cities is aimed at providing the basic necessities of affordable housing, clean water and a safe environment for our people.
As a former Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat, I recognise that these ambitious objectives can be realized only through cooperation between the federal Government and our twenty nine States. We are creating structures to enable them to become partners of our exports and investment strategy. We have also adopted a strategy of cooperative and competitive federalism where states spur each other into greater effort through a healthy competition for economic growth and prosperity.
International support and collaboration is equally critical to achieving our objectives. I have therefore sought to build a foreign policy which is an integral part of our national development strategy. My interactions with leaders of USA, Russia, France, Japan and China have all aimed at creating enduring partnerships with shared stakes in global development and well-being.
Germany enjoys a special place in this context. We share a strategic partnership based on our common values. India desires a mutually beneficial partnership for growth and prosperity with Germany. Our priorities fit well with Germany’s expertise. India’s development needs can become business opportunities for German industry.
We take satisfaction from the presence of more than 1600 Indo-German collaborations Nonetheless, a great deal of potential remains unrealized. Higher levels of investments are possible and indeed desirable. Germany is globally renowned for its engineering, innovation and skills. The capacities of your Mittelstand and family-owned businesses are well known. I invite them to come to India.
My visit to Germany and India’s participation at the Hannover Messe as a Partner Country is aimed at realising the immense possibilities that exist between us. In my discussions with Chancellor Merkel and with captains of German industry, I intend to share our sense of optimism and confidence in our future plans. I will also listen carefully to learn what more we can do to address concerns of German entrepreneurs with regard to investment and manufacturing in India.
We see Germany as our preferred partner in developing skills of young Indians. We also want to learn from Germany’s path-breaking experiences in renewable energy. We wish to replicate your success in solar roof-top projects and off-grid solar and wind power solutions, as well as your expertise in grid integration and management. Our smart city project can utilize your technologies to achieve water, waste and urban development objectives. We admire Germany’s achievements in the application of technology solutions to meet environmental challenges. You are also our natural ally in my Government’s “Clean India” initiative. We also want to benefit from Germany’s experience in cleaning the River Ganga. We invite your transport companies, including your railways, to assist us in the modernization of our transport networks. Your logistics and infrastructure companies can contribute to ongoing development of industrial corridors in India.
I visualize India as a key engine of global growth. Our democratic principles and practices are guarantors of stability. We have a free media and an independent judiciary that allows all opinions to be aired without fear. We believe in “Rahein Saath Badhe Saath” (stay together-grow together). There is no other way forward. Mankind’s progress in this century depends on cooperation and collaboration. Conflict is unthinkable. So is poverty which Gandhi called the worst form of violence. If we can take all Indians together into a better socio-economic future, I believe that the world we share will be a better place for all.
(The above articlewas published in German language inGerman Newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung )
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