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Prime Minister chairs meeting of the Council on Trade and Industry Print E-mail
Written by Ganesh   
Friday, 01 April 2011
New Delhi: The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, chaired the meeting of PM’s Council on Trade and Industry here today.

"Manufacturing remains an area where we need to improve our performance. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council are working together on a comprehensive manufacturing policy which would seek to improve industrial infrastructure and the business environment, and encourage development of appropriate technologies and human resources," Dr Singh said.

The industry leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work in partnership with Government particularly in areas of inclusive growth, skill development and job creation and environmental protection.

The sub-committees of the Council that had worked on the following five thematic areas presented their reports to the Council: Financial inclusion, Tribal area development, Public private partnerships in R&D, Agricultural production and food security, and Skill development, affirmative action and corporate social responsibility.

On behalf of the sub-committees presentations were made by Shri Ratan Tata, Smt. Chanda Kochhar, Shri Jamshed Godrej, Dr. A.S. Ganguly and Shri S.K. Munjal.

Public Private Partnerships especially in R & D

The sub-committee recommended (a) to develop new relationship models and guiding principles for promotion of Public-Private Partnership for R&D based on global best practices and broaden the horizon for public sector R&D professionals; and (b) To establish a public fund for investments into PPP projects for R&D in five identified sectors for formulation and implementation of a few path breaking major national projects involving major technological challenges through existing structures. The Government is committed to encouraging investment in R & D with the involvement of the industry and exploring avenues for PPP in R&D and clean energy sectors. The Council Members said that the industry was committed to increasing investments in R&D and engaging with the Government and educational and research institutions in promotion of R & D through Public Private Partnerships.

Skill Development, Affirmative Action and Corporate Social Responsibility

The sub-committee recommends to (a)  encourage industrial houses to set up own training institutes/take up existing centres under PPP, and (b) adopt innovative ways to remodel apprenticeship programme with industry involvement, and as part of affirmative action and corporate social responsibility to affirm that: (i)  no SC/ST trainee would be turned away by any skill development centre, and (ii)   in vendor development, preference would be given to SC/ST entrepreneurs. The Government is already implementing a Skill Development Initiative which derives its inspiration from the Prime Minister’s National Council on Skill Development. The members of the Council felt that the private sector had an important role to play in skill development and expressed their commitment to implementation of the recommendations of the sub-committee and to work with the Government’s Skill Development Initiative.

The Prime Minister stated that the Government plans to push ahead on reforms in key areas, especially those aimed at fiscal consolidation, while ensuring a strong expansion in investment in infrastructure, taxation, especially the introduction of a Goods and Services Tax and the financial sector. He said the reforms in education and skill development sectors were already underway.

"We have made a conscious effort to strengthen international diplomacy and aid our industry in their businesses internationally. It is a matter of great pride for the country that many of our industry houses are recognized names throughout the world," he said.

"The country's increasing engagement with the world economy has resulted in increased volumes of trade in goods and services. We are ensuring that our interests are protected in negotiations at the WTO and are also entering into various bilateral and regional trade agreements in order to create greater opportunities for our trade and industry," he added.

The Prime Minister emphasized the need for a broad agenda for reforms for financing infrastructure development.  He outlined the challenges of rising crude, food and commodity prices, international political uncertainties and the impact of natural disasters that the economy faces today.  He assured that the Government was keenly aware of these challenges and the concerns of the industry.  He spoke of the need for aggressive acquisition of assets abroad, stronger research and development, strengthening international diplomacy, protecting the interests of the country at the WTO and making available good quality infrastructure in the country and assured that the Government was alive to these needs and was taking effective measures.

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