The Union Minister of State for Housing & Urban Affairs (Independent Charge), Hardeep Singh Puri and the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Dr. Jayant Sinha were present for the valedictory session today, of the two-day India Economic Summit, in Mumbai.Addressing the audience, the Urban Affairs Minister Shri Puri observed that the Indian urban space has been neglected for long after independence. The Minister said that the policies and flagship programmes embarked on by the Government under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi have the potential to introduce a paradigmatic shift in how we view urban issues. He said that moreover, these policies collectively constitute the most comprehensive, ambitious and audacious planned urbanization undertaken anywhere in the world.The Minister recalled the Prime Minister’s 2014 Independence Day address, wherein he expressed the Government’s aim to make India Open-Defecation-Free and to have 100% scientific solid waste management, by the time India celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Speaking of the progress, the Minister said that there is no issue in attainment of physical targets. Shri Puri added that Swachh Bharat Mission is now acquiring the shape of a Jan Andolan, a project of the people. The Minister said that the third Swachh Survekshan has just been completed, which shows remarkable progress. He said that he is confident that all toilets constructed will have water and that they will be maintained well. He said that if ordinary citizens realize that they have the power to attain a state of cleanliness, the job is more than half-done.Speaking on the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, the Minister recalled Rural Development Minister’s words that 1 crore rural houses would have been built by December 2018, under PMAY.
The Minister said that out of the calculated deficit of 11 million houses, 4.5 million houses have already been sanctioned by March 31, 2018. The Minister said that the pace of progress makes him confident of completing the target for housing construction by April 2019, ahead of the target of 2022.Shri Puri said that the challenge in completion of the scheme is availability of resources and funding. He hence appealed to the industry to come forward and participate in this win-win scenario. Noting that the Government has embraced urbanization very positively, the Minister said that between today and 2030, India needs to build 700 - 900 million square metre space every year, that too on green basis.MoS, Civil Aviation. Dr. Jayant Sinha said that we need to understand the approaches which will enable us to not only grow to a 10 trillion-dollar economy, but to also do so by ensuring equity in growth. He complimented Assam Chief Minister, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal and Maharashtra Chief Minister, Shri Devendra Fadnavis for the vision he espoused on how Maharashtra can grow from a 400 billion-dollar state economy to a trillion-dollar state economy very soon. Recounting the various panel discussions, the Minister opined that the full spectrum of issues required to achieve the growth that will power India forward has been covered in the Summit. The Minister closed by expressing the Government’s commitment to building the New India, in line with the vision of the Prime Minister.The second day of the India Economic Summit, organized by Bombay Stock Exchange, had a panel discussion on “Jobs for All: Harnessing India’s Demographic Dividend”.
The panel comprising CEO, NITI Aayog, Shri Amitabh Kant; Vice-Chairman and MD, Bharti Enterprises, Shri Rajan Bharti Mittal; Executive Chairman, Flipkart, Shri Sachin Bansal; and Managing Director and CEO, Lodha Group, Shri Abhishek Lodha agreed that there is a need to improve the level of corporate training provided to employees in the private sector. It was noted that the overall rate of growth of the workforce in the 2011 Census 2011, relative to the 2001 Census, has been 1.8%. The panel observed that while the organized sector in India is well-regulated, there is a need for a scientific analysis of rural processes to strengthen the labour system in the unorganized sector. The panelists said that India’s emerging MSME sector need better exposure to the industrial sector; it was noted that this sector needs better market access, which will enable them to widen their horizons and job creation opportunities. The need to improve vocational training and skill-based training to employees was also highlighted.Speaking on “Future of Centre State Finances”, Chairman, 15th Finance Commission, Shri N. K. Singh said that transfers to the states relative to the Centre's gross revenue receipts have shown a trend increase in every Finance Commission and that it would not be possible to reduce the devolution without a corresponding increase in states’ fiscal and revenue deficits.Shri Singh said that GST will usher in higher tax buoyancy by bringing in many new tax payers into the tax net. He observed that higher tax collections under GST will provide the Central government with room for fiscal maneuver, to finance the inter-governmental transfer system. On horizontal balances, the Chairman said that the 15th Finance Commission has the responsibility of reducing the widening gap between richer states and low-income states. He noted that a large part of the equalization effort by the 15th Finance Commission would have to be through grants-in-aid rather than through devolution.The Chairman noted that 14th Finance Commission's recommendations ushered in a new era of fiscal federalism in India.
Devolution to the states significantly went up from 32 per cent to 42 per cent. While most countries have found it difficult to finance federal transfers of about 30 per cent to the provinces, India has taken it to 42 per cent. It was observed that the government followed up the historic devolution with the constitution of the NITI Aayog to promote cooperative federalism and enacted a constitutional amendment to establish the GST Council. Shri Singh said that the 15th Finance Commission will review the status of the finance, deficit, debt levels, cash balances and fiscal discipline efforts of the Union and the states and will recommend a fiscal consolidation roadmap for sound fiscal management, considering the responsibilities of the central and state governments.This was followed by a panel discussion on “Future of Centre - State Finances”, in which Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister, Government of Assam and Shri Haseeb Drabu, Former Minister of Finance, Government of Jammu & Kashmir participated.Another panel discussion was held on Emerging Technologies: Their Impact and Challenges, moderated by Shri Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance, Government of India. Dr. Sudhir Mishra CEO & MD, BrahMos Aerospace; Mr. Mark Lippert, Vice President, Boeing International and Shri Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman, Quality Council of India were the other panelists. The panel spoke about the need for a regulatory framework for technology-based services, particularly in health and other social sectors. It was said that emerging technologies such as online hiring of car rental services and digital payments of utility bills save time, money and stress but that they also pose challenges.A panel on Crafting a Unique Development Model for India was chaired by Minister Dr. Jayant Sinha. In response to the question whether India needs its own unique developmental model, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, Shri Rajiv Kumar said that India needs its own home-grown model of development. Shri Shashi Shanker, Chairman and MD, ONGC and Shri Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Chairman and MD, One97 Communications Ltd. were the other panelists.