Boost to manufacturing needed to address the job creation challenge – Anand Sharma
Commerce & Industry Minister Anand Sharma has said that the share of manufacturing in the GDP must climb up to 26 per cent from the current 16 per cent to address the challenge of job creation. He said the National Manufacturing Policy is one of the key instruments to achieve this goal. Mr.Sharma was speaking at a special CII Interactive Session titled ‘Transforming India: Role of Youth’ at the St.Xavier College in Mumbai.
The Minister admitted that creation of jobs was a major challenge before the nation, and therefore it was necessary to go back to high rate of economic growth of around 9 per cent per annum. “High growth is not an option, but an imperative. The larger issue is not just numbers but the social dimension. If we fail to address the issue of job creation, the social cost will be unbearable” he added. The Minister further briefed students about the National Skill Development Mission which has set an ambitious target of imparting job skills to 500 million persons by the year 2022.
Underlining the seriousness of the government in making India a major manufacturing hub, Mr.Anand Sharma said the government was in the process of establishing 12 stand alone world class industrial townships across the country. Terming the upcoming Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, as the biggest industrial infrastructure project in the world at the moment, Mr.Sharma informed that 9 of the 12 industrial townships fell under DMIC, with the 900 sqkms Dholera Industrial Centre in Gujarat being the largest. “We have gone beyond drawing board. Master Plans for 7 projects have already been completed” he added.
Emphasizing the importance of technology, Mr.Sharma said “the world is changing, and technology is leading the change.” He said, the government has placed immense importance on technology development and has drawn up plans to double expenditure on R&D from current 1 per cent of GDP to 2 percent of GDP. New IITs, IIITs, National Institute of Designs etc, which are being established would address the growing needs of youth to prepare them to take up the challenge, he informed.
Mr. Sharma told the youth that the decades ahead presented immense opportunities for India. He said “with ageing west, and China following suit, India, with a large young population, will have 57 million surplus skilled workers ready to absorb job opportunities across the world”. The Minister, however, did not forget to underline that the nations must remain committed to open markets.
Mr. Anand Sharma said economic integration is a necessity in the present globalized world, and India has engaged with rest of the world through comprehensive economic partnership agreements with several countries including ASEAN and African nations. He said, in a multi-polar world, India’s trade relations have diversified, with ASEAN accounting for $ 80 billion and Africa accounting for $ 70 billion. “we are no more dependent only on the developed world alone” said Mr. Sharma, indicating that the South-South cooperation is going to grow further in coming years.
Calling attention of students to the two important visits to Mumbai and Delhi – by the French President Francoise Hollande and the British Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr. Sharma said “the world is looking at us and India must capitalize on its strengths to assume global leadership in the 21st century
Dwelling on the issue of corruption and scams, the Commerce & Industry Minister said India has in place an effective mechanism in the form of free judiciary to fix the problem. He cited the example of Satyam and said the government was able to facilitate transfer of ownership in a transparent manner, at the same time protecting over 20 thousand jobs. He said, unfortunately, only the negatives get magnified and positives are not reported by the media.
The CII initiative of engaging youth in economic development was attended by over 500 students of St.Xavier College, Mumbai. Former President of CII and Vice President Tata Steel, B Muthuraman, CEO of Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, Amitabh Kant and Principal of St. Xavier College, Fr. Fraser Mascerenhas were also present.