In­dian econ­omy a haven of sta­bil­ity, says Pres­i­dent

The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS -

De­scrib­ing In­dia as "a haven of sta­bil­ity" in a tur­bu­lent global econ­omy, In­dian Pres­i­dent Pranab Mukher­jee on Tues­day said the govern­ment has sim­pli­fied pro­ce­dures for ap­provals, re­pealed ob­so­lete laws and put in place a non-ad­ver­sar­ial tax regime to at­tract in­vest­ments.

Ad­dress­ing the joint sit­ting of Par­lia­ment at the start of the Bud­get ses­sion, the Pres­i­dent listed out achieve­ments of the Modi govern­ment, say­ing In­dia has jumped 12 places on the ease of do­ing rank­ing of the World Bank while for­eign in­vest­ment in­flow has risen 39 per cent.

The govern­ment has taken to re­form­ing in­sti­tu­tions, sim­pli­fy­ing pro­ce­dures and re­peal­ing ob­so­lete laws, be­sides un­lock­ing in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties as well as fo­cus­ing on clean en­ergy and cut­ting sub­sidy leak­ages.

"In­dia is a haven of sta­bil­ity in an in­creas­ingly tur­bu­lent global econ­omy. GDP growth has in­creased mak­ing In­dia the world's fastest grow­ing econ­omy among large economies," he said. Mukher­jee said in­fla­tion, fis­cal deficit and cur­rent ac­count deficit have all come down and the coun­try recorded the high­est ever for­eign ex­change re­serves in 2015.

"The govern­ment has taken a num­ber of mea­sures to put in place a sim­pli­fied, pro­gres­sive and non-ad­ver­sar­ial tax regime by in­cor­po­rat­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally preva­lent best prac­tices in tax ad­min­is­tra­tion," he said refer­ing to tax­payer-friendly fa­cil­i­ties like e-fil­ing of re­turns, elec­tronic pro­cess­ing and re­trieval of doc­u­ments and on­line griev­ance re­dres­sal.

Also, pro­ce­dures have been sim­pli­fied to im­prove ease of ap­provals, and ded­i­cated com­mer­cial courts and com­mer­cial divi­sions in high courts have been es­tab­lished. "For speedy res­o­lu­tion of com­mer­cial dis­putes, the long over­due amend­ments to the Ar­bi­tra­tion Act have been made," he said.

Stat­ing that em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tion was the govern­ment's top goal, the Pres­i­dent said job cre­ation is be­ing driven through ini­tia­tives like Make-in-In­dia, Startup In­dia, Mudra and Skill In­dia.

So­lar power was be­com­ing in­creas­ingly af­ford­able and ac­ces­si­ble to thou­sands of peo­ple, Pranab Mukher­jee said while ad­dress­ing the joint ses­sion of both houses of par­lia­ment ahead of the bud­get ses­sion. Pres­i­dent Pranab Mukher­jee said the launch of the Startup In­dia Cam­paign will deepen, ex­pand and sup­port the in­no­va­tion ecosys­tem in the coun­try.

"My govern­ment has launched Startup In­dia cam­paign which would deepen, ex­pand and sup­port in­no­va­tion ecosys­tem in the coun­try," he said. The Pres­i­dent was ad­dress­ing the joint sit­ting of both houses of par­lia­ment, mark­ing the tra­di­tional launch of the bud­get ses­sion.

He said the govern­ment's mis­sion of skilling In­dia has gained mo­men­tum and 76 lakh peo­ple were trained last year. Talk­ing about the fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to the farm­ers, Mukher­jee said: "As­sis­tance to farm­ers af­flicted by the nat­u­ral calami­ties has been in­creased by 50 per­cent and el­i­gi­bil­ity norms have been re­laxed."

"To­day, un­der my govern­ment, so­lar power is af­ford­able and ac­ces­si­ble to thou­sands of peo­ple," Mukher­jee said. The Pres­i­dent added that the govern­ment has en­vis­aged in­creas­ing the re­new­able en­ergy ca­pac­ity man­i­fold to 175 GW by 2022. "In the year 2015 In­dia wit­nessed the high­est ever gen­er­a­tion of elec­tric­ity," he said.

Mukher­jee said that the govern­ment was keen to fully har­ness the agri­cul­tural po­ten­tial of the east­ern states and steps had been taken to usher in a se­cond Green Rev­o­lu­tion. Ad­dress­ing the sit­ting joint ses­sion of par­lia­ment, the pres­i­dent said that the govern­ment was also work­ing to help farm­ers get fair and re­mu­ner­a­tive prices. He said that the e-mar­ket­ing plat­form was be­ing cre­ated to con­nect all reg­u­lated agri­cul­tural mar­kets.

"To fully har­ness agri­cul­tural po­ten­tial of east­ern states sev­eral steps have been taken to usher in the se­cond green rev­o­lu­tion," the pres­i­dent said. Pranab Mukher­jee said the govern­ment would take firm and ef­fec­tive steps to deal with cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism. "Firm and ef­fec­tive steps will be taken to deal with any sit­u­a­tion aris­ing out of cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism. My govern­ment is fully com­mit­ted to firmly deal with all chal­lenges con­cern­ing the se­cu­rity of the coun­try," said Mukher­jee. The Pres­i­dent was ad­dress­ing the joint sit­ting of both houses of par­lia­ment, mark­ing the tra­di­tional be­gin­ning of the bud­get ses­sion.

Call­ing ter­ror­ism a global threat, he ex­pressed the need for strong counter-ter­ror­ism mea­sures world­wide to erad­i­cate the men­ace com­pletely.

Mukher­jee also con­grat­u­lated the In­dian se­cu­rity forces in suc­cess­fully foil­ing the re­cent ter­ror­ist at­tack at Pathankot air­base. "We are in­debted to those who in­spire us by their self­less ser­vice and their supreme sac­ri­fice in the line of duty," said the Pres­i­dent. He also said that se­cu­rity forces play an im­por­tant role in tack­ling threats in the coun­try's north­east and the ar­eas in­flu­enced by Left-wing ex­trem­ism.

The govern­ment will al­low women in all fighter streams of the armed forces, Pranab Mukher­jee said. "Shakti, which means power, is the man­i­fes­ta­tion of fe­male en­ergy. This shakti de­fines our strength. My govern­ment has ap­proved in­duc­tion of women as short ser­vice com­mis­sion of­fi­cers and as fighter pi­lots in In­dian Air Force," he said. "In the fu­ture, my govern­ment will in­duct women in all fighter streams of our armed forces," the Pres­i­dent said in his ad­dress to the joint sit­ting of the Lok Sabha and the Ra­jya Sabha.

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