The Union Minister for Commerce, Industry & Textiles Shri Anand Sharma today said that the share of manufacturing in the GDP must climb up to 26 per cent from the current 16 per cent to address the challenge of job creation. He said that the National Manufacturing Policy is one of the key instruments to achieve this goal. Shri Sharma was speaking at a special CII Interactive Session titled ˜Transforming India: Role of Youth™ at the St. Xavier College in Mumbai.
Shri Sharma admitted that creation of jobs was a major challenge before the nation, and therefore it was necessary to go back to high rate of economic growth of around 9 per cent per annum. High growth is not an option, but an imperative. The larger issue is not just numbers but the social dimension. If we fail to address the issue of job creation, the social cost will be unbearable, he added. Shri Sharma further briefed the students about the National Skill Development Mission which has set an ambitious target of imparting job skills to 500 million persons by the year 2022.
Underlining the seriousness of the government in making India a major manufacturing hub, Shri Sharma said that the government was in the process of establishing 12 stand alone world class industrial townships across the country. Terming the upcoming Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor as the biggest industrial infrastructure project in the world at the moment, Shri Sharma informed that 9 of the 12 industrial townships fell under DMIC, with the 900 sq. kms. Dholera Industrial Centre in Gujarat being the largest. We have gone beyond drawing board. Master Plans for seven projects have already been completed, he added.
Emphasising the importance of technology, Shri Sharma said that the world is changing, and technology is leading the change. He said that the government has placed immense importance on technology development and has drawn up plans to double expenditure on R&D from current 1 per cent of GDP to 2 percent of GDP. New IITs, IIITs, National Institute of Designs etc, which are being established would address the growing needs of youth to prepare them to take up the challenge, he informed.
Shri Sharma told the youth that the decades ahead presented immense opportunities for India. He said that with ageing West, and China following suit, India, with a large young population, will have 57 million surplus skilled workers ready to absorb job opportunities across the world. The Minister, however, did not forget to underline that the nations must remain committed to open markets.
Shri Sharma said that economic integration is a necessity in the present globalised world, and India has engaged with rest of the world through comprehensive economic partnership agreements with several countries including ASEAN and African nations. He said that in a multi-polar world, India™s trade relations have diversified, with ASEAN accounting for $ 80 billion and Africa accounting for $ 70 billion. We are no more dependent only on the developed world alone, said Shri Sharma, indicating that the South-South cooperation is going to grow further in coming years.
Calling the attention of students to the two important visits to Mumbai and Delhi by the French President Francoise Hollande and the British Prime Minister David Cameron, Shri Sharma said that the world is looking at us and India must capitalise on its strengths to assume global leadership in the 21st century.
Dwelling on the issue of corruption and scams, the Commerce, Industry & Textiles Minister said that India has in place an effective mechanism in the form of free judiciary to fix the problem. He cited the example of Satyam and said that the government was able to facilitate transfer of ownership in a transparent manner, at the same time protecting over 20 thousand jobs. He said, unfortunately, only the negatives get magnified and positives are not reported by the media.
The CII initiative of engaging youth in economic development was attended by over 500 students of St. Xavier College, Mumbai. Former President of CII and Vice President Tata Steel, Mr. B Muthuraman, CEO of Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, Mr. Amitabh Kant and Principal of St. Xavier College, Fr. Fraser Mascerenhas were also present.