iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
India will be close to a $35-$40 trillion economy by 2047. The Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal made this forecast as he addressed the Asia Economic Dialogue in Pune on Saturday, February 25. The minister shared his conviction that India would be the third-largest economy in the next four-five years.
“My own conviction about the way India is growing is that we will drive our economy closer to $35-40 trillion economy by 2047. The desire of every Indian is to be second to none. India not only is the fastest growing large economy, but it will also continue to be so for many decades to come,” Goyal said.
The minister told the industry that the government has undertaken game-changing reforms for the empowerment of people. “The aspiration of the young population in India for the good things of life will drive the Indian economy,” he added.
Goyal said that Asia has its own particular dynamics, where economies are both democracies and which are non-transparent and non-rule-based. “In the last decade or so, India has been wanting to internationalize and engage with technology and modern way of working. Today, India is clearly recognized as the country of the decade, if not the country of the 21st century. We have already moved from the tenth-largest to the fifth-largest economy. We today have a young demographic dividend, which is being recognized as our biggest asset.”
Speaking on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Goyal said that it is having a severe effect on the developed world more than the developing countries. For food security and energy security and consequential impact on inflation, interest rates, and growth, it has had a devastating effect on both developed and developing countries, he added.
The minister said that over the years, “we have hurt India’s interests by making our people get used to low-cost substandard goods from China. The trade deficit with China which was under 2 billion dollars around 15 – 16 years ago, increased to around 48 billion dollars by 2014. We allowed products to come from China while they stopped products from India to go to China for legitimate or illegitimate reasons. Hence, it was music to my ear when Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to not join RCEP on 4 November 2019, which was celebrated across the country by every section of industry and business, every farmer, and every person associated with the dairy sector.”
“India believes in the rule of law, the right to liberty, and freedom of expression. But very different economic philosophies coexist in Asia. It will take some time for us to create adequate systems and manufacturing systems, and also sensitize our people and businesses to wean ourselves away from the opium of low-cost low-quality goods coming in from China,” he added.
Goyal said that India is now a partner the world can trust. “By converting the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity, we were able to open the world’s eyes toward India. Our ability to innovate and come out with vaccines and distribute and vaccinate the population at low cost has been a world record. During COVID-19, we did not let down a single international commitment. We are a trading partner the world can trust. We have had the highest ever exports in 2021-22.”
Speaking of Free Trade Agreements, Goyal told industry representatives that India did the fastest-ever FTA in world history, the India-UAE Agreement was completed in 88 days. “We also completed a fast FTA with Australia. That is the enthusiasm the world is demonstrating toward working with India. We have negotiations going on with Israel, Canada, the EU, the UK, and GCC. Russia and its partner countries of EAU too want to fast-track negotiations with India.”
Drawing attention to the need to achieve 100% indigenization in the auto industry, Goyal said: “We must strengthen our domestic manufacturing capabilities, we should be competitive, self-sufficient.” On payment timelines for MSMEs, the minister said that big companies that benefit from low borrowing costs should consider paying MSMEs promptly so that the small businesses become more profitable.
On supporting MSMEs, Goyal said that any effort to increase exports will have an impact on MSMEs, given the whole ecosystem around large businesses. “While the government has schemes to kickstart businesses, ultimately, we have to have a balance between the interest of consumers and businesses. We can artificially support a sector only up to a point. MSMEs will always be very critical to the global economy. Hence, various concessions are being given to MSMEs as well as startups and women entrepreneurs.”
On promoting green businesses, he said that while the developed world is the largest contributor to climate change, they are preaching to us today about what we should be doing despite us being only 2.5% of contributors to carbon emissions. “The government has focused on addressing climate change as a responsible global citizen. We are promoting circular economies so that we recycle our waste. We are among the top five performing nations in addressing climate change goals. We are also promoting products like sustainable textiles. We are also laying a big emphasis on promoting organic farming, for instance, we are going to make exports of agricultural organic produce from Sikkim grow from Rs. 8 crore currently to Rs. 8000 crore by 2030.”
While speaking about FTA with the USA, the minister said that FTA approval in the US requires the approval of the US Congress and that there is no bipartisan support for this in the US. “Hence the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework has been conceptualized as an alternate framework. We are looking at getting closer to the US in terms of resilient supply chains, technology partnerships, and opening our economy through indirect measures. We have constant dialogues with the US. A huge business delegation comprising top US corporations is coming down to India along with US Commerce Secretary during Holi. We are investing a lot of time and capital in strengthening the India-US partnership.”