Take risks, cut dependence on import: Sitharaman to India Inc

Take risks, cut dependence on import: Sitharaman to India Inc

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said there are clear signs of an uptick in the economy and the industry should now start taking risks and invest in capacity creation that will help cut import dependence.

"I would strongly appeal to Indian industry that you shouldn't further delay looking at increasing capacities...looking at newer areas evolving, shouldn't delay in finding partners who can give you such technology, Sitharaman said at the CII Global Economic Policy Summit 2021.

Making a case for reducing import dependence, the minister said that there is no issue with import of components for manufacturing in India, but dependence on import of finished products has to be reduced.

"Today even as we want to be stay linked with global value chains we have to understand and take cognisance of the risks it has posed us. The risks of depending... This is an area in which we as responsible Indians should think can we be completely so dependent.

"We need to have some re-look at when market exist in India, where is a shortage of certain commodities in India, is it wise for us to leave it all for imports. We are not shutting our doors, we are not saying no imports. But can it be that the entire thing comes imported. High time we think about these sort of value chains... we are getting the end products only... Can there be essentials imported 100 per cent?" he asked.

She also asked the industry to offer jobs to reduce income disparity and cut down on importing finished goods reduce and instead ramp up investment in manufacturing.

"At a time when India is looking at impetus to growth, I want Indian industry to be a lot more risk-taking and understand what India wants, she said.

The government's intention is to remove obstacles for the industry, and it wont just stop by doing away with about 1,500 archaic laws, she said.

Sitharaman further said that the Prime Minister has also asked every ministry and department to outline what more compliance burden could be eased.

Sitharaman also said that the banking sector has remarkably turned around, and non-performing assets have started declining along with higher recoveries.

Public sector banks have raised Rs 10,000 crore from the market, and are not looking at the government to fund them, she added. In three weeks ending Diwali, banks have collectively lent Rs 75,000 crore to four to five different categories through the credit outreach programme, she said.

India has shown the world that it is possible for a developing country to quickly recover and grow at near double digit," she said.

Sitharaman further said that India is moving towards solar and renewable sources of energy, and this target can be achieved only if all stakeholders are committed towards meeting this goal.

India's fossil fuel bills are going up as crude oil prices have increased substantially, she said. There are no convincing signs visible that prices will fall, she added.

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