From the Secretary General's Desk…
is indeed heartening to note that the entire focus of the economic debate in this country centres around getting the economy back on the rails. The business community is naturally enthused by the positive steps announced by the government to lift the economy out of the morass into which it has slipped. Growth is certainly an imperative and it is important that India returns to high rates of economic growth over a long period of time to correct its current developmental deficiencies. This should be coupled with increased reliance on markets for efficient allocation of financial and natural resources, reforms should aim at building institutions for effective rule-making, administration and adjudication and economic and social policy decisions should be made at the lowest rungs of administration in states. See a report in this issue.
FICCI remains committed to assisting India’s business community in rejuvenating and strengthening ties with its counterparts in the SAARC region. This was amply demonstrated by Sidharth Birla, President of FICCI, when he called on the SAARC leaders who were in New Delhi to attend the swearing in ceremony of the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Birla met Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan; Sushil Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal and Prof G L Peiris, Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka. The South Asian region, he said, needed to be put on a strong pedestal of sustained growth and development and emphasised that the private sector of India was steadfast in its commitment to build strong economic ties with neighbouring countries.
A key agenda of FICCI is improving manufacturing competitiveness that would enable our economy to achieve increased contribution of manufacturing to our GDP. The current share of 16 per cent of manufacturing in India’s GDP has been stagnant for the last two decades and is nowhere near its potential. Achieving this target requires enabling policy environment and also the need to follow global best practices in the processes at firm level. To give a fillip to this movement, FICCI has instituted Quality System Awards which are expected to motivate and act as a catalyst to encourage Indian manufacturers to adopt robust quality systems and thereby successfully face competition in the global market. We carry a report on this subject.
The Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region has gained in importance for India in terms of its energy and food security, knowledge-based activities, and in areas of social protection and inclusive growth. FICCI feels that economic engagement between India and LAC region can be enhanced mainly by way of investments, as conventional trade in goods has its challenges on account of distance, time zone difference and business culture. In this backdrop, the firstever India LAC Investment Conclave, organised by FICCI, jointly with DIPP, is scheduled to be held on October 16-17, 2014, in New Delhi.
We hope you will find the contents of this issue interesting.
A Didar Singh