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Let Us Develop Big Progressive Ecosystem; Let us take the initiative to try something new, says Prime Minister.

We talk about big digital highways but since we need to reach the villages, to the common man, we should promote it as the ‘digital road campaign: Narendra Modi.

All my cabinet colleagues, experts from the fields of finance and economy, stakeholders, ladies and gentlemen!

Amidst the greatest pandemic in 100 years, India’s economy is picking up momentum once again. It is a reflection of our economic decisions and the robust foundation of our economy. In this budget, the government has taken several steps to continue this momentum of rapid growth. By encouraging foreign capital flows, reducing tax on infrastructure investment, creating institutions like NIIF, GIFT City and new DFIs, we have tried to accelerate financial and economic growth. The country’s commitment to the widespread use of digital technology in finance is now reaching the next level. The 75 Digital Banking Units as well as Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDCs) in 75 districts reflect our vision.

To accelerate the development of India in 21st century, we have to give priority to Financial Viable Models in all our Priority Sectors. The participation of financial institutions is extremely important for the aspirations of the country today, the aspirations with which the country is keen to move forward, the direction in which it wants to move and the priorities of the country. Today the country is running Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. If our country is dependent on other countries in certain areas, it is necessary to brainstorm about different models of financing in those projects so that our country’s dependence on other countries reduces. An example of this is the PM Gatishakti National Master Plan. We want you to have a central role in the success of the projects related to it.

In the direction of creating a balanced development of the country, the Government of India has rolled out schemes like the Aspirational Districts Programme. More than 100 districts have been selected in the country that are below the average of the concerned state. So, we would urge these financial institutions to prioritise all the projects there. These are our aspirational districts which are still behind. Can we bring them forward? It is also necessary to think in the direction of increasing your participation in these areas. Today, India’s aspirations are linked to strength our MSMEs. To strengthen MSMEs, we have brought several fundamental reforms and have rolled out new schemes. The success of these reforms is dependent on strengthening their financing.

If we talk about Industry 4.0, then, the result we want may take some time, so what has to be done to avoid the delay? As the world talks about Industry 4.0, we need skill development 4.0 in accordance with its main pillars i.e. Fintech, AgriTech and Meditech. So, 4.0 Skill Development is needed. As these are the main pillars, how can the financial institutions give priority so as to develop these pillars in the light of 4.0? The help of financial institutions in many such areas will take India to new heights in Industry 4.0.

You have seen that when a player wins a gold medal in the Olympics, he brings glory to the entire country. A great level of confidence is instilled in the country too. One person brings a medal but the entire atmosphere changes. Can’t we think of and apply the same spirit in other areas in the country? Can we identify 8 or 10 such sectors and work very hard towards those so that India can take the position in top 3 in those sectors? This is possible with the participation of the private sector. For example, can’t there be construction companies counted among the top-3 of the world? Similarly, we are moving ahead when it comes to the number of start-ups; but can we be among the top 3 in terms of the quality of their products, their uniqueness, and the technological base? Right now we have opened the Drone Sector, the Space Sector, the Geo-spatial Sector. These have been our major policy decisions, which are kind of a game changer.

As a new generation of people from India are getting into the space sector, the drones sector, can’t we dream of making a place in the world’s top 3 in these fields as well? Can’t all our institutions provide assistance for the same? But for all this to happen, it is very important that the companies, the enterprises which are already ahead in these fields should be proactive and they should get all the support from our financial sector. We should also have the expertise on how the financial institutions can develop their capability to fulfil this type of requirement. Otherwise, there will be a lot of confusion. Our companies and start-ups will expand only when we increase the Entrepreneurship Initiatives, focus on innovation and new technology, find new markets as well as work on new business ideas. And in order to do so, those who finance them also need to have a deep understanding of these Ideas of the Future. Our Financing Sector will also have to consider innovative Financing and Sustainable Risk Management of new Futuristic Ideas and Initiatives.

You all know very well that today the priority of the country is self-reliance in India’s requirements, and how we can grow more and more in export as well. Exporters have different financial needs. According to these requirements, can you develop your products and services so as to meet the needs of the exporters? If you give priority to them, they will become stronger and with that strength the country’s exports will also increase. Nowadays, there are reports of increasing demand towards India’s wheat around the world. In such a scenario, are our financial institutions paying attention to the exporters of wheat? Is our import-export department paying attention to that? Is the shipping industry concerned about its priority? That is, we need to make a comprehensive effort. So we have an opportunity to present our wheat to the world. If we provide it with the best quality and the best service right from the beginning, then gradually it will become a permanent feature.

The rural economy forms a pivotal base of India’s economy. We cannot deny it, and the rural economy is such a broad base that when we compile it gradually, it becomes huge. It takes small efforts to strengthen the rural economy but the results are fabulous like promoting Self Help Groups. Can we provide comprehensive help to the Self Help Groups, the finance, technology and marketing by being proactive? For example, the Kisan Credit Cards. Can we work on a mission mode to ensure that every farmer, fisherman, livestock rearer can get the credit card?

Thousands of Farmer Producer Organisations are being formed in the country today and major initiatives are also being taken by them. In some states even positive results are visible. How to work in that direction? Now let’s consider agriculture. When it comes to honey, earlier no one paid any attention to India. But now we are doing a commendable job on honey. However, now we need a global market. So, how can we work on things like procuring a global market, branding, marketing and financial help? Similarly, common service centres are being set up in lakhs of villages of the country today. If you prioritise these things in your policies, then the country’s rural economy will get a boost.

In a way, the villages are getting the biggest benefits of a service centre. Today, no one from the village needs to go to the city for railway reservation. He visits the service centre and gets his reservation done. And you know that today we are providing broadband connectivity to every village by laying an optical fibre network. The government has made a digital highway; and in simple language I would call it a ‘digital road’ because I have to take ‘digital’ to the villages.

So, we are building digital roads. We talk about big digital highways but since we need to reach the villages, to the common man, we should promote it as the ‘digital road campaign’. Can we take various products of Financial Inclusion to each and every village? Similarly, food processing is associated with the agriculture sector. Warehousing and agri-logistics are also significant. India’s aspirations are connected to organic farming, natural farming. It is very important to think about how our financial institutions can help someone entering these fields to do something new.

Nowadays a lot of work is being done in the health sector as well. The government is investing so much on health infrastructure. To overcome the challenges related to Medical Education, it is very important to have more and more medical institutions here. Can our financial institutions, banks also prioritise these areas in their business planning?

Global warming has become a vital topic in current times and India has set a target of net zero by 2070. Work for this has already started in the country. To speed up these works, it is necessary to accelerate Environment Friendly Projects. Green Financing and the study and implementation of such new aspects is the need of the hour. For example, India is doing a lot in the field of solar power. India is creating Disaster Resilient Infrastructure here.

We are giving priority to Disaster Resilient Infrastructure even in the 6 Light House Projects of the housing sector in the country. Your support is essential for the work being done in these areas. It is currently in the form of a Light House Project model, but if the people working in this type of area get financial help, they will replicate this model and take them to smaller cities. So our technology will start spreading rapidly; the pace of work will increase and I believe that this kind of support is extremely important.

I am sure that all of you will be seriously deliberating on these topics and from this webinar we have to decide actionable solutions. No, we are not supposed to come up with big visions or the 2023 budget today. Instead, how do I implement the budget from March 2022 to March 2023. How to implement it as soon as possible? How to get the outcome? And the government should get the benefit of your everyday experience so that the files are not stuck for months due to a full stop or a comma, delaying the decisions. If we discuss it beforehand, then it will be beneficial.

We have taken a new initiative. And like I keep talking of ‘Sabka Prayas’ or everyone’s efforts, this is an example of everyone’s effort. Discussing with you before the budget, discussing after the presentation of the budget. That discussion for smooth implementation is democracy in itself. This type of democratic effort in the financial world; working together with all the stakeholders, the features of this budget, its strength, have been highly appreciated. But I don’t want to stop at the praises.

I need your help. Your proactive role is needed. I will also request the state governments if they could frame the required policies before April 1 for the same. The sooner you enter the market, the more people will come to your state; the greater will be the benefits to your state. There should be a competition among the states as to which state can take the maximum benefit of this budget? Which state comes with such progressive policies so that all the financial institutions feel like helping the people there? Let us develop a big progressive ecosystem.

Let us take the initiative to try something new. I am sure that experienced people like you who know about the everyday challenges, know the solutions to these problems. We are here with you for those solutions. That’s why I am saying that this discussion is more a post-budget discussion than a budget discussion. This discussion is for its implementation. We need suggestions from you for the implementation. I am sure your contribution will be extremely useful. Thanks a lot !

(Above is a speech delivered by PM at post-budget webinar on ‘Financing for Growth & Aspirational Economy’)

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