NITI Aayog meeting | Ease path for businesses, says Modi

Talent is Indian but product is not, PM says on Google; calls for further strengthening of start-ups, MSMEs.

February 20, 2021 12:54 pm | Updated 10:52 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo

States need to work towards reducing compliance burden for citizens to ensure ease of living and promote ease of doing business, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday, while stressing on the importance of better coordination between the Centre and the States for the country’s development.

Also read: MSME sector lauds Union Budget 2021

“There are thousands of compliances within the government that we can remove for the common man... Now, there is no need to ask people again and again when there is technology. States should come forward. I have also said this in the Government of India and our Cabinet secretary is following this. The number of compliances has to be reduced now. This is also very important for ease of living,” Mr. Modi said speaking at the sixth meeting of NITI Aayog Governing Council.

The meeting was attended by 26 Chief Ministers, three Lieutenant Governors and two administrators, besides Union Ministers, special invitees and NITI Aayog officials. Chief Ministers of Punjab, Gujarat, West Bengal and Telangana, however, did not attend the meeting.

“I want to request two things. Today, we have got an opportunity in the world and we should try to grab that opportunity... Globally, for positioning of India, for India to gain opportunities, ease of doing business is important. For this, we have to improve our laws, systems and meet the expectations of the citizens of the country... We will have to emphasize what is necessary for Ease of Living,” Mr. Modi said.

The Prime Minister added that the foundation of the country’s progress is that the Center and the States work together and move in a definite direction.

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Stating that policy framework and better coordination between Centre and States is very important, the Prime Minister asked the States to take advantage of Central schemes like PLI to attract investments. He pointed out that States have a 40% share in the National Infrastructure Pipeline and therefore, it is imperative that States and the Centre synergise their budgets, make plans, and set priorities.

“We are also seeing how the private sector of the country is enthusiastically coming forward to participate in the country’s development...As the government, we also have to honour this enthusiasm and give them as much opportunity in the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign,” he said.

Farm laws not raised

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar said the farm laws, which have sparked protests across the country, were not discussed during the day-long meeting.

“I can assure you that no State brought up the farm laws for discussion. Agriculture was discussed... but no discussion on the farm laws and that they should be repealed,” Mr Kumar said, replying to a query.

Also read: Identify country’s needs and make innovations, PM Modi tells IIT students

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant added that agriculture issues which were discussed included aligning cropping system to agro-climatic conditions at district level for optimal resource utilization, promoting water conservation, promoting diversification towards nutri-cereals, pulses, horticulture, fisheries and animal husbandry, food-processing agro-based industry and exports.

During his address, the Prime Minister said agriculture offers immense opportunities and that reforms are very important for farmers to get necessary economic resources, better infrastructure and modern technology.

He added that even though Indian is an agrarian economy, it imports edible oil worth ₹65,000-70,000 crore. “We can stop this. Money can go to our farmers’ account. Our farmers are entitled to this money. But we need to plan accordingly for this.”

Mr Kumar added that most chief ministers emphasised on developmental agenda and timely completion of infrastructure projects.

“I don't honestly recall any specific request for fiscal assistant etc. Nobody mentioned that... Some States have requests, for example, Bihar, which is a landlocked State, wants a special port in Odisha to handle their cargo. This was backed by Jharkhand. Rajasthan, for example, wanted the Indira Gandhi Canal to be given the national status... so, much more development-oriented requests rather than any financial,” he said.

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