Prime Minister Narendra Modi Is Getting India Going

Jakarta Globe/by Ambassador Gurjit Singh

The new government in India was elected in June and has completed 100 days in office under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The government has emerged with an absolute parliamentary mandate through the hope and aspirations of the people of India and had undertaken to prepare a road map within 100 days for India’s development, keeping in view a new focus on “minimum government and
maximum governance.” The slogan of Prime Minister Modi, Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas, or All Together, Development for All, is a new call for inclusive development among people, among states and in the entire country.

In the first 100 days some important initiatives have been taken to bring the economy back on track and put more focus on infrastructure development. The government has introduced a scheme called Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna, which is a comprehensive financial
inclusion scheme, which opens bank accounts for all those who are outside the reach of the banking system. So far 30 million new accounts have been opened. The government also works towards reforming the working of the cabinet system through groups of ministers,
unleashing the dynamism of the bureaucracy, seeking a replacement for the Planning Commission with a new initiative and has undertaken fast-track diplomacy both bilaterally and multilaterally.

In his first Independence Day address to the nation on Aug. 15 this year, Prime Minister Modi, besides the financial inclusion scheme, also announced an initiative for strong infrastructure to empower India; an initiative for clean India (Swach Bharat) to be
launched on Oct. 2 (Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday) as well as initiatives to improve sanitation facilities in schools, to have model villages as well as to empower common people to further realize the potential of India’s youth. A nationwide “Skill India” movement
will be initiated to improve skills and increase employment.

From the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day, the prime minister also announced the “Make in India” campaign, inviting manufacturers to invest in India and utilize India’s strengths and capabilities to boost India’s industrial growth. In his view,
the Made in India label could become a synonym of excellence and with the current changes in the policies towards foreign investment and joint ventures, this can strengthen the Indian economy. With initiatives to increase investment and to create employment,
the growth rate has returned to a positive direction.

Among the efforts made by the new government to improve the growth rate, are measures taken to ease the business atmosphere and also to discourage red tape; some of the efforts are to boost business practices in all of India’s states, industrial licensing brought
under the e-biz portal, the process of applying for industrial licenses and the industrial entrepreneurs memorandum has been brought online and the service is now available to entrepreneurs on 24/7 basis at the e-Biz website, without human interface. Visa
on arrival for business entrepreneurs is also under consideration.

With greater emphasis on Foreign Direct Investment, the government has allowed 100 percent FDI in the railway sector and 49 percent in the defense industry. FDI in the construction sector is being liberalized particularly to focus on the development of smart
cities and to provide affordable housing for all.

By bringing together the manufacturing sector, industrial corridors and smart cities under the Delhi-Mumbai corridors, implementation is being hastened. New cities are emerging in Dholera Special Investment Region in Gujarat, Shendra-Bidkin Industrial Park
in Maharashtra, Integrated Industrial Township in Madhya Pradesh and Global City in Gurgaon, Haryana and Integrated Industrial Township in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The Perspective Plan for Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial corridor has been completed and three
new industrial cities have been identified for development — Ponneri in Tamil Nadu, Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Tumkur in Karnataka — which are receiving positive attention.

The prime minister is keen to push connectivity with the Southeast Asian region, and the emphasis is now set to shift to how the connectivity corridors, when ready, can be transformed into zones of vibrant economic activity that would benefit both sides. There
is keenness to transform these connectivity corridors, like the 3,200-kilometer Trilateral Highway linking India, Myanmar and Thailand and the Kaladan Multi-modal transit project — that would link Kolkata port with landlocked Mizoram via Myanmar — into economic
highways with special economic zones set up along the way. A new National Industrial Development Authority will take charge of these plans. These corridors will facilitate the manufacturing and service sectors and help to create a global manufacturing and
trading hub.

The government will create employment opportunities through these processes. The Indian Leather Development program has emerged as the best skill-development program, training 50 thousand youth in the last 100 days with an employment rate of 83 percent. Due
to these various measures, FDI inflow in India in June-July has increased by 74 percent,manufacturing growth has increased by 3.4 percent, growth in capital goods has increased by 23 percent. Twenty-one new industrial clusters have been approved in the first
100 days of the new government and these would have their own supply chains, responsive administration, lower logistic costs, and labor availability, and will provide technology upgradation. These clusters are expected to provide cost-effective productivity
gains and give a further fillip to the Make in India campaign.

The Make in India initiative has a raft of proposals designed to get foreign companies to set up business and make the country a manufacturing powerhouse by expanding its global partnership. A partnership between Indian and Indonesian companies could thus lead
to positive resilience not only in terms of sales to the Indian market but also further expand India-Indonesia business cooperation. Indonesian companies who are supplying palm oil, rubber and coal to the Indian market could find more opportunities to utilize
their experience for downstream business opportunities in India. Indonesian companies in the service sector, particularly in construction, can find tremendous opportunities in cooperation with Indian companies in the increasingly vibrant Indian infrastructure

The government in India has brought a new dynamism and direction which has created a momentum for a vibrant manufacturing sector. In the year ahead, India will fully tap its competitive strengths and continue to build partnerships with friendly countries and
tap the business acumen across the board. This is an important time for Indian and Indonesian companies to come together to take advantage of these opportunities. Our bilateral engagements of a trade of $20 billion and Indian investment of approximately $15
billion and strong people-to-people links provide a good framework to create partnerships which could lead to a greater opportunity for Indonesian companies in India as well as Indian companies in Indonesia. Together they could then also look at new opportunities
which will emerge through India-Asean connectivity and the Asean Economic Community.

Gurjit Singh is the ambassador of India to Indonesia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Timor Leste.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Is Getting India Going

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