Chairman, CII Northern Region, unveils theme for 2020-21
By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 19 Jun: Nikhil Sawhney, Chairman, CII Northern Region, interacted with the media during a virtual press conference organised by Confederation of Indian Industry, today. Sawhney shared the agenda and focus areas of CII in the Northern Region for the year 2020-21.
Sawhney highlighted that CII, through its extensive network of State & Zonal Offices and 9 Centres of Excellence (COEs) across the country, has worked very extensively with stakeholders to combat the impact of Covid-19 on the economy and country at large.
“Our interventions on the ground range from policy advocacy, support services for businesses, and information services to providing real-time updates on policy announcements and working with the Central & state Governments by providing inputs on next steps to tide over the health emergency,” he declared.
He said that, in order to bring growth back to the economy, a multi-pronged strategy in diverse areas would be required, with active participation from all stakeholders, including industry. Having said this, the Chairman unveiled the theme of CII Northern Region for 2020-21 as ‘Building India for a New World: Lives, Livelihood, Growth – A Collaborative North’.
While answering media queries, Sawhney said that the plight of the migrant labourers, the bulk of whom work in the casual sector, had not been lost on anyone. Hence, one of the important dimensions of rebuilding India would be to mitigate the enormous human cost of COVID-19, by protecting jobs and livelihoods. This will have to be complimented by policy action in the rural economy which is the largest employer.
He said that, for the first time, with the country witnessing a reverse migration, there is scope for creating more geographically distributed models of development and an opportunity for redefining investment priorities.
Investment in rural health and infrastructure along with strengthening rural digital programmes and platforms could pave the way for a robust rural ecosystem. Industries, along with state governments, could be encouraged to set up facilities in rural areas, which in turn would generate jobs and strengthen the rural sector’s share in GDP. India needed to raise its health spending to at least 3% of GDP, in line with its peers.
He added that boosting government spending for a sustained economic recovery was crucial at this hour. Given that the government is fiscally constrained, its efforts to provide stimulus to the economy, for example, in the form of 100% credit guarantee to MSMEs and various other measures are commendable. More such measures will be needed in the future, but at the same time, the balance between fiscal spending and financial stability will have to be ensured. He suggested that State Governments raise resources to cover the fiscal by disinvesting in some of State PSUs.
He said that the prolonged lockdown had dealt a huge blow to growth. COVID-19 has changed the status quo of the World and there was need to focus energies to manage growth, lives and livelihoods while considering the challenges associated with life after COVID. He was confident that Indian Industry would help the country overcome this crisis. In addition, he mentioned that labour reforms were being undertaken to help provide a boost to employment. Investment in non-strategic areas had been opened up for private sector participation.
“Industry will have to work with its vendors, especially with MSMEs to ensure that progress is across the value chain. Hence, Industry has a major role to play along with the Government in bringing inclusive and sustainable growth back,” he added.
CII will work closely with Government to provide incentives and facilitation to companies wanting to shift their manufacturing operations out of China as part of their de-risking strategy. CII Northern Region has also recommended to all the State Governments in the region to spend 10% of their GSDP as a package to give a big push for the economic revival.