Special Correspondent

Future opportunities lay in Latin America, ASEAN: Sharma

Comprehensive strategy for developing competitiveness needed

CII chief voices industry's concerns

on paucity of skills

NEW DELHI: Asserting that robust factory output in recent months had been quite encouraging, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday said India would tweet its policy initiatives with the aim of achieving a 25 per cent industrial growth in future.

“Fresh data has shown 13.5 per cent industrial growth during March. We need to put in place policies and review on how to sustain this robust growth,” Mr. Sharma said at the annual session of Confederation of Indian Industry (CCI) here. As many as 14 out of the 17 industry groups have shown positive growth during March 2010. Industrial production had expanded by 15.1 per cent in February, 16.7 per cent in January and 17.6 per cent in December.

Refusing to claim victory on the back of turnaround in exports, Mr. Sharma said India's future export and investment opportunities lay in exploring the markets of new geographies in ASEAN, Latin America and Africa. He pointed to IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa), BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China), and India's engagement with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) through multiple channels as evidence of the seriousness that the government attached to its relationship with these new geographies.

The Commerce Minister urged industry to aggressively seek opportunities in these new markets. Mr. Sharma pointed out that his Ministry had already taken steps in this direction by adding incentive schemes that targeted these focus markets in new geographies in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Commenting on the need for a comprehensive strategy for developing India's competitiveness, Mr. Sharma said the government realised that part of the effort to diversify India's export and investment relationship was dependent on being able to create a dynamic manufacturing sector in India.

Earlier, CII President Venu Srinivasan voiced industry's concerns on the paucity of skills and the constraints it puts on India's economic growth and competitiveness. He stressed the centrality of a manufacturing policy to India's emergence as a major economy and a trading power.