Delivering the inaugural address of the 95th annual plenary session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) via video conferencing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said India’s growth story will come only from being self-reliant.
“It is the only way that will propel us forward in the 21st century. It is the only way that India, which is today an importing nation, will first become self-reliant, and then aim to become a big exporting nation. That is the vision that will take us forward,” he told the top industry body representing businesses and industries in eastern and north-eastern India.
The Prime Minister asserted that the time has come for every street, every village, every district, every state, and the nation as a whole to take a pledge to ensure that we as a nation must become self-reliant at all levels.
PM Modi said he can see people wishing if India were self-reliant in medical equipment, in manufacturing PPE kits, in defence production as well as in the manufacturing of everything essential, and added that solution to all this can only come from an “atmanirbhar Bharat”.
Addressing the leaders of the top body, PM Modi said that it is a time of challenges. “We see an epidemic that has caused trouble and loss to the world… we have seen storms and locust swarms and back-to-back cyclones… these are no doubt tough times,” he said, but added that India has seen through such tough times before.
He reminded that it is one’s mental strength and resolve that is key in such times and those who give up easily, there is no end to misery in life. But, for those who keep motivated through challenging times, are the ones who pave the solution for all and ensure that as a person and also as a nation we emerge from this successfully, the Prime Minister said.
“Mann ke hare haar, mann ke jeete jeet – it means that only our firm resolve and determination can decide our future,” the PM said.
As India faces multiple challenges, PM Modi said, every citizen of the country has resolved to turn this crisis into an opportunity.
“We have to make this a major turning point for this nation. What is that turning point? A self-reliant India,” he said.
Asserting that it is time to push economy towards “plug and play”, the PM said, “At this time we have to take the Indian economy out of ‘command and control’ and push it towards ‘plug and play’. This isn’t the time for conservative approach. It’s time for bold decisions and bold investments. It’s time to prepare a globally competitive domestic supply chain.” He added that Kolkata can lead development in East and Northeast regions.
He further called for following teachings of Swami Vivekananda in taking the nation forward and once again, pushed for ‘Make in India’ in post-COVID world.
“Decades ago Swami Vivekananda wrote, ‘The simplest method to be worked upon at present is to induce Indians to use their own products and get markets for Indian goods in other countries’. This path shown by Swami Vivekananda is an inspiration for India in the post-COVID world.
PM Modi also urged for the need to support each other to tide over these tough times, especially the small-time craftsmen and workers.
“We as a government are doing all we can to ensure that the nation gets a much-needed impetus to take the nation forward on the route to becoming self-reliant,” the PM said in his address.
He said the Government is giving huge support to micro, small and medium industries (MSMEs) and has redefined MSMEs to ensure they can grow bigger while still enjoying the benefits given by the Centre. He added that the Government is also focusing on helping farmers across the nation.
“India may be a free nation, but it is only now that farmers have got their true freedom and independence. The government has now made it free for them to decide who they want to sell their produce to, and at the best price they get. This is a massive step in ensuring that farmers earn a better livelihood,” the Prime Minister added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his address by congratulating the Chamber of Commerce for achieving the milestone of completing 95 years.
“The ICC has stood the test of time and contributed immensely to the growth trajectory of the country,” he said.