January 28, 2021 7:40 pm

Improving digital infrastructure can ensure better market access to farmers: PM Modi

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Reforms in the agricultural sector, in the last six months, have started giving benefits to the , Prime Minister said recently at the ASSOCHAM Foundation week, asking industry to invest more in the R&D in areas like agriculture, space and defence to make India ‘Aatmanirbhar’ as fast as possible.

“Benefits of agricultural reforms which had begun six months ago, have started reaching the farmers,” the Prime Minister said, touching upon a range of issues, including a vaccine against pandemic, corporate governance, Research and Development (R&D), improving rural economy and the renewed interest of global investors in India.

The Prime Minister’s address was attended by India’s top industry leaders, including Ratan Tata who was conferred the ‘ASSOCHAM Enterprise of the Century Award’ for upholding and taking forward the ethos and values of the House of Tatas.

“Sir, you have been the carrier of leadership, you have not dithered, you have not escaped, you have turned them and frontally lead the country through this period for which I should say, we should all be most obliged,” Tata said while expressing his gratitude.

Asking the industry to feel unshackled, Modi said as part of Atmanirbhar initiative, India has made up its mind and is committed to reforms in rules and regulations. His government has repealed as many as 1,500 laws in the last six months. These had become outdated and outlived their utility.

He emphasised that with the improved physical and digital infrastructure, farmers can have a better market for their products, helping the entire rural economy reach a new high.

“The efforts by the government to reduce therural-urban divide in the last six years can be multiplied by the industry,” he said, asking the industry to be focussed more towards rural India.

In addition, he mentioned, “Today focus is being given on both physical and digital infrastructure, ensuring the farmers have access to the digital market. Broadband and other digital infrastructure are being taken to the villages.”

He placed emphasis on organic farming, herbal products and startups in the rural landscape.

Talking about the Covid-19 vaccine development and manufacturing plan, the Prime Minister said India would not only meet its own vaccine requirement but would also reach out to several countries with the same. He said the challenge before the country is how soon the objective of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ is achieved.

India’s success has a positivity never seen in the past. For global investors, the country has transformed itself from “Why India” to “Why Not India”. This is reflected in the robust inflows of the foreign direct investment (FDI) and foreign portfolio investment even at times of the pandemic-hit global economy, the Prime Minister said. India has moved towards ease of doing business in terms of labour laws, regulatory compliances, startup ecosystems and the broad policy of giving a ‘Red Carpet’ treatment to investors, he added.

Calling upon ASSOCHAM and the entire India Inc to help devise a mechanism to deal with the fast-changing geo-political situations in the world, Modi said the industry must also look at scaling up corporate governance. Whether it is dealing with gender parity, corporate governance, labour inclusivity and interest of other stakeholders, “what you expect from the government and society”, must be done by the industry as well.

The government is putting a special focus on manufacturing. Besides reforms, incentive schemes have also been announced for more than 10 sectors. Positive results of the same are already visible, Modi asserted. Besides, he also shed light on the strengthening of PSU banks, which is being taken up to ensure adequate funding for the unfolding opportunities.

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