Amidst the raging farmers’ agitation over the farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a call to entrepreneurs to invest in villages and small cities asserting that India’s growth in 21st century will be driven by these areas.
Addressing the 93rd Annual Convention of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), he made a strong pitch for the positive change happening in the rural, semi-rural and tier-2 and tier-3 cities and invited the senior business and industry leaders to take benefit of the opportunities in such areas.
“It is certain that in the 21st century, India’s growth will be driven by villages and the small cities and entrepreneurs like you should not lose out on the opportunity to invest in the villages and small cities. Your investment will open new doors for our brothers and sisters in the rural areas and the agriculture sector,” PM Modi said.
He informed that the number of Internet users in the rural areas has surpassed the cities and more than half of India’s start-ups are in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
Mentioning recently approved PM-WANI for public Wi-Fi hotspots, the Prime Minister said that entrepreneurs should become partners in the rural connectivity efforts.
The Prime Minister complimented the Indian private sector for not only meeting the domestic needs but also for its capability to establish strong brand India globally. The commitment of every citizen towards Atmanirbhar Bharat is an example of the country’s faith in its private sector, he said.
He said that a visionary and decisive government encourages all the stakeholders to realise their potential. PM Modi pointed out that in the last six years, the government is encouraging stakeholders in all sector.
“This is reflected in the all-round reforms in sectors ranging from manufacturing to MSME, agriculture to infrastructure, from the tech industry to taxation and from real estate to regulatory easing,” he added.
Modi told the gathering that our industry needs bridges, not walls.
“By removing the walls separating various sectors of the economy there will be new opportunities for everyone, especially the farmers who will get new options. Investment in technology, cold storage and the agri-sector will benefit farmers,” he said.
PM Modi called for investing energy in finding ways to make agriculture, service, manufacturing and social sectors complement each other.
“Organisation like FICCI can be both bridge and inspiration in this endeavour. We should work with a goal to strengthen the local value and supply chain and how to expand India’s role in the global supply chain. India has market, manpower and also the capability to work in mission mode,” he said.
The Prime Minister cited the success of financial inclusion through the trinity of J-A-M (Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile) as the best example of the planned and integrated approach to reform. He dwelled on the steps to help the farmers and the agri-sector at length.
“Through policy and intention (niti aur niyat), the government is committed to the welfare of the farmers,” he said.
Noting the increasing vibrancy of the agri-sector, the Prime Minister talked of new alternative available to the farmers to sell their produce outside the mandis, modernization of mandis and option of selling produce on the electronic platform.
All this is directed to make the farmer prosperous as a prosperous farmer means prosperous nation, he said.
PM Modi pointed out that private sector investment in agriculture is not up to the mark. He said in the fields of the supply chain, cold storage and areas like fertilizers etc, both interest and investment of the private sector is needed.
There is a huge scope in rural agro-based industries and a friendly policy regime is in place for that, he added.
The Prime Minister complimented the Industrialists and entrepreneurs for their contribution in the robust rebound from the Covid shock. He said that the country prioritised the lives of the citizens during the pandemic and that yielded good results.
The circumstances improved with the same speed as they deteriorated initially, Modi said. Recalling FICCI’s role in the freedom struggle and their upcoming centenary in not so distant future, the Prime Minister asked to expand their role in the nation-building.