New Delhi, Jun 9 (PTI) : Terming the current economic situation as “extremely difficult”, President Pranab Mukherjee today expressed the government’s commitment to put India back on high growth path, while containing inflation and making tax regime non-adversarial.
“…putting the Indian economy back on track is paramount for my government. We will work together to usher our economy into high growth path, rein in inflation, reignite the investment cycle, accelerate job creation and restore the confidence of domestic as well as international community in our economy,” he said.
The President in his address to the joint sitting of Parliament unveiled the policies and priorities of the BJP – led NDA government which assumed power last month after elections to the 16th Lok Sabha.
The economy, Mukherjee said is “passing through an extremely difficult phase. For the two consecutive years, our GDP growth has been less than 5 per cent. Tax collection has declined. Inflation continues to be an at unacceptable level”.
Referring to the high food inflation, he said the new government will give “top most priority” to contain it.
The government, he added, will take effective steps to prevent hoarding and black marketing and reform the public distribution system, incorporating best practices from the states.
The President further said the government is alert about the possibility of a subnormal monsoon this year and is in the process of preparing contingency plan to deal with the situation.
The government, Mukherjee said, will endeavour to “create a policy environment which is predictable, transparent and fair.
“It will embark on rationalisation and simplification of the tax regime to make it non-adversarial and conducive to investment, enterprise and growth,” he added.
He said government will move ahead with the rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST) while addressing the concerns of the states, and undertake more reforms to enhance the ease of doing business.
The President further said that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will be encouraged in sectors which “help create jobs and assets”.
In order to create jobs, he said, the government will promote labour-intensive manufacturing and endeavour to expand employment opportunities in tourism and agro-based industries.
The government will transform employment exchanges into career centres and also strengthen pension and health insurance safety nets for labour force of all categories, in addition to providing them access to modern financial services, Mukherjee said.
Giving further details of the government’s agenda, he said effort will be made to increase public and private investment in the farm infrastructure and convert farming into a profitable venture through scientific practices and agro-technology.
The government “will adopt a national land use policy which will facilitate scientific identification of non- cultivable land and its strategic development”, he added.
The President said coal sector reforms will be top on the agenda of Modi government to attract private sector investment in a transparent way.
“Reforms in the coal sector will be pursued with urgency for attracting private investment in a transparent manner,” Mukherjee said.
He said the government will come out with comprehensive National Energy Policy and focus on development of energy related infrastructure, human resource and technology.
The aim of the government, he said, will be to substantially augment electricity generation capacity through judicious mix of conventional and non-conventional sources.
Mukherjee said India needs to transform itself into a globally competitive manufacturing hub powered by skill, scale and speed.
To this end, the government will set up world class investment and industrial regions, particularly along the Dedicated Freight Corridors and industrial corridors spanning the country, he said.
“My Government will encourage the domestic industry to innovate and collaborate internationally. It will strive to move towards a single-window system of clearances both at the Centre and at the States through a hub-spoke model,” Mukherjee added.
To strengthen India’s share in global trade, he said procedures will be simplified and trade infrastructure strengthened so as to reduce transaction time and costs.
The small scale industry and handicraft sectors will be encouraged by providing them enhanced technological, marketing and investment support.
“Export potential of this sector will be encouraged. My government will make every effort to improve the working conditions of our weavers in particular,” he said.