The government on Friday assured industry stakeholders of its commitment to growth and development, as key Union Ministers addressed the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) National Council Meeting.

Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and IT; and Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that a new data protection law has been finalised and will be taken to the Cabinet for approval. He also said the IT Act needs to be improved.

“India’s digital economy must become a trillion-dollar economy in the coming 4-5 years,” said Prasad, adding that fields such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, electronics manufacturing, software development, etc, are important for growth. “Telecom equipment is also a big area of growth, which we need to explore,” he added.

“I have already laid down a software product policy. Now, I want India to become a leader in software production,” he said.

‘Digital villages’ is another area of focus for the government, as it aims to set up one lakh villages with facilities like public WiFi, computer literacy centres, etc. Prasad appealed to the CII to take this initiative up as part of their CSR initiatives.

To leverage the Indian Postal network for e-commerce deliveries, Prasad said that 190 hubs all over the country will be set up. Twelve such hubs are already in operation.

‘No trust deficit’

Minister for Road, Transport and Highways, Shipping and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Nitin Gadkari, stated that there is no trust deficit between the government and the industry.

“The government is very positive and has faith in the industry. We are bringing improvements as per the suggestion of the industry and request for more recommendations,” he said.

The Minister iterated that sectors currently under stress, like real estate, should be attended to first. He also underlined that the roads and highway sector had contributed 1.7 per cent to India’s GDP, while investments in the shipping sector had touched ₹16 lakh crore. “We want to emulate the similar progress in the MSME sector as well,” he added.

Emphasising on the role of innovative ideas in the present government, he said: “A new website by the name of ‘Bank of Idea and Innovation’ is likely to be launched next week, where industry will be invited to give suggestions and ideas for anything focussed on development and growth”.


Walking the talk

Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs, Civil Aviation, and Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri said that the government’s target of housing for all will be met by 2020, and that 83 lakh houses were sanctioned last year. By December-end, 50 integrated command and control centres in smart cities will be operational, he added.

Reiterating India’s commitment to protecting the environment, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar, said that the country has walked the talk on the Paris accord more effectively than many other countries.

Javadekar also said that the government will move to tackle air pollution in North India by addressing the stubble burning issue in 100 villages.