Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday was optimistic about the India growth story, saying that “the worst is over and best is yet to come”.
The minister was addressing the Global Venture Capital Summit in Goa, attended by over 100 investors from across the globe keen on start-ups.
“There is no market, which is exciting as India…This is a new phase in India’s growth story,” Prabhu said inviting investors to participate in this.
The minister said phenomenal growth will take place in every sector. Noting the drive of infrastructure creation in the country under the Narendra Modi-led government, Prabhu said this is a dire need for such a large country.
“The government has to invest more than 10 per cent on infrastructure year after year. That is because we failed to do it in the past,” he said indirectly blaming the former Congress-led governments at the Centre.
Prabhu, who was also railway minister, said on that front, the entire investment was running into hundreds of billions of dollars.
“We created, for the first time, a five-year plan of $144 billion investments. There was a phenomenal change in the infrastructure after that,” he claimed.
Prabhu, who also holds the portfolio of civil aviation minister, said, “In the aviation sector, we have created 100 airports and we will add 100 more in the next ten years time with the investment of $65 billion. The story is similar in roads,” he pointed out.
Prabhu said that when he held the responsibility as power minister, the country was facing a deficit and questions were asked on how India will become powerful without power.
“We made one law that brought in $250 billion in investments in a matter of a decade. Today, India from being power deficient, is a power surplus country,” he boasted.
Making a case to back entrepreneurship he pointed out while in other markets there is a 2-3 per cent growth for start-ups, India clocks double-digit growth, and the possibilities are “unimaginable”.
The minister especially pointed to opportunities in agricultural start-ups because almost all the land used for agriculture is privately owned. There are small holdings. Therefore, we have the opportunity to increase the farm yield, he suggested.
On Thursday, Prabhu had said the government was planning to work at the micro-level in each district, which would help in boosting the country’s overall GDP.
Speaking at an Assocham event in Panaji, he said the aim is to increase the gross domestic product (GDP) of each district in the country, which will cumulatively contribute for the GDP growth of the nation.
“We are mapping each and every district to increase GDP of that region by 3-4 per cent,” the minister said while addressing the conference on ‘Strengthening MSME Ecosystem in Food Processing’, adding that agencies like Nabard are working with the government on this project very closely.
Prabhu said the government has already identified six districts in five different states — Muzaffarpur in Bihar, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, a district in Himachal Pradesh and two districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra — to be taken up in the first phase of the project.
“The National Council of Applied Economic Research has already done a baseline study of both the districts in Maharashtra,” he said.
The minister said that the government is also working on an initiative to improve the ease of doing business in each district.
“Ease of doing business has improved considerably and we will try to improve it further,” he said, adding, “We want to work on ease of doing business in every district of India.”
Prabhu said he has written to all the chief ministers on the same, and most of them have responded positively.
The minister said that with the initiatives to increase the GDP and promote ease of doing business, the country will witness economic transformation.