Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Centre is taking calibrated steps to address industry concerns pertaining to appreciating rupee, hardening of interest rates and inadequate availability of physical infrastructure to sustain recovery, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said here on Friday.

Addressing the Members of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Commerce and Industry, Mr. Sharma said there were some genuine concerns of industry including those pertaining to shortage of critical skills in some important sectors that were constraining competitiveness of industry. “The government is conscious of these constraints and taking calibrated steps to have a judicious policy mix that would sustain industrial recovery and at the same time result in fiscal consolidation,'' he said. Highlighting the importance of the manufacturing sector, Mr. Sharma said “an economy of our size and scope cannot ignore the manufacturing sector. The share of manufacturing in national income has shown only a marginal improvement from 15.8 per cent in 1991 to 16 per cent now. This should be somewhere around 25 to 35 per cent and requires the manufacturing sector to keep growing in double digits during the next decade.''

Investment zones

Mr. Sharma informed the members that by the end of this year a new National Manufacturing Policy would be announced and at present the department has circulated a discussion paper on the issue, inviting comments from all stakeholders. “We also intend to establish national manufacturing and investment zones (NMIZs) to push the manufacturing share in our GDP. The objective is to increase the sectoral share of manufacturing in GDP to 25 per cent by 2022, double the current employment level in the sector and enhance global competitiveness of the sector,'' he remarked. He said appropriate fiscal and monetary policies were initiated to counter the adverse fall out of the global slowdown on the Indian economy. The total size of the fiscal stimulus package was estimated at 3.5 per cent of GDP in 2008-09 and amounted to Rs.186,000 crore.