From the Sec­re­tary Gen­eral's Desk…

FICCI Business Digest - - Contents -

There is lit­tle doubt that the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion now stands at the cusp of a trans­for­ma­tion, with the gov­ern­ment hav­ing laid out its vi­sion of a dig­i­tally en­abled In­dia over the last one year. The suc­cess of both 'Dig­i­tal In­dia' and 'Make in In­dia' pro­grammes en­vi­sioned by the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia and em­braced by the peo­ple, will ride on the back of a strong telecom ecosys­tem, dig­i­tal in­fras­truc­ture and industry's link in the value chain. In this back­drop, FICCI, in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Depart­ment of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, Min­istry of Communications & IT, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, or­gan­ised ' Dig­i­tal Bharat 2015' in New Delhi last month, the maiden edi­tion of FICCI's 'Dig­i­tal Bharat', a plat­form for trans­for­ma­tive ex­changes and de­lib­er­a­tions. In a whiff of fresh air, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Min­is­ter for Communications & IT, who in­au­gu­rated the event as­sured industry that the auc­tion of spec­trum in the fu­ture too would be con­ducted in a timely, fair and trans­par­ent way. The hall­mark will be good gov­er­nance and “the road map will be fully dis­closed in ad­vance so that industry can put its act to­gether in a planned man­ner.” We bring to you a re­port in this is­sue. We also bring to you per­spec­tives by two CEOs on 'Smart Ci­ties', one by Har­shavard­han Neo­tia of Am­buja Neo­tia Group and Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent of FICCI and Hari Sankaran of IL&FS. Ad­di­tion­ally, we carry a re­port on how Lo­ca­tion Based Ser­vices (LBS) can trans­form the In­dian land­scape. Ac­cord­ing to a FICCI-PwC re­port, in or­der to mit­i­gate chal­lenges and en­sure ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of LBS along with smart city com­po­nents across ci­ties, there is a need to use LBS dur­ing as­sess­ment of city master plan­ning; cre­ate a sin­gle agency for gen­er­at­ing, col­lect­ing and util­is­ing lo­ca­tion and geospa­tial data of a city and frame a pol­icy for data se­cu­rity and pri­vacy. The New Gov­ern­ment at the Cen­tre led by Naren­dra Modi com­pleted one year in of­fice last month. FICCI un­veiled a com­pre­hen­sive re­port card on the Gov­ern­ment's one year in of­fice. At a me­dia con­fer­ence, Dr. Jy­ot­sna Suri, Pres­i­dent of FICCI, said, “The main achieve­ment of the gov­ern­ment in the past year is the cre­ation of a pos­i­tive busi­ness sen­ti­ment, restoration of in­vestor con­fi­dence and es­tab­lish­ment of ' Brand In­dia', by fram­ing poli­cies that rest on trans­parency and fair­ness.” It was ob­served that no gov­ern­ment at the Cen­tre has worked so hard in one year to re­verse the spiral of neg­a­tiv­ity and brought in poli­cies that will spur de­mand and growth in the very near fu­ture. FICCI, how­ever, be­lieves that the gov­ern­ment should now fo­cus on rais­ing farm pro­duc­tiv­ity and for­mu­late a wa­ter pol­icy that en­sures ef­fi­cient and fair dis­tri­bu­tion of wa­ter for agri­cul­ture, in­dus­trial and do­mes­tic con­sump­tion. Terming the gov­ern­ment's pro-industry la­bel as “pure rhetoric”, Dr. Suri said that with­out growth, it would be im­pos­si­ble to pro­vide jobs to the 23 mil­lion young peo­ple who de­scend in the job mar­ket ev­ery month. The slow­ing down of ru­ral and ur­ban de­mand was a cause for con­cern, she said and added that gov­ern­ment spend­ing on in­fras­truc­ture projects must rise sig­nif­i­cantly to fuel the in­dus­trial econ­omy. See re­port in this is­sue. The chal­lenge posed by the pro­posed mega-re­gional trade pact - the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP) - will im­pact In­dia's ex­ports sig­nif­i­cantly and the coun­try would do well to make a con­certed all-round ef­fort to pre­pare for and un­der­take do­mes­tic mar­ket re­form and push for not just ex­port of man­u­fac­tures but also of ser­vices and agri­cul­tural prod­ucts. This word of cau­tion by Suresh Prabhu, Union Min­is­ter for Rail­ways, mer­its at­ten­tion by pol­icy mak­ers and industry alike. Prabhu's ad­vice came at the con­fer­ence on 'Chang­ing Global Eco­nomic Sce­nario: Im­pli­ca­tions for In­dia's Trade Pol­icy and Make in In­dia Pro­gramme', or­gan­ised jointly by FICCI, In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment (IISD) and Cen­tre for WTO Stud­ies. In the emerg­ing global eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment, do­mes­tic re­forms would be the key to im­prov­ing prod­uct stan­dards, manufacturing and ser­vices de­liv­ery. Such an ap­proach was vi­tal to re­main com­pet­i­tive in the global mar­kets as the US was fast track­ing the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of TPP. We wel­come your views and com­ments on the contents of this is­sue.

A Di­dar Singh

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