New Delhi: The huge impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of engaging with partner nations for fruitful development of all, Union minister Anurag Thakur said on Tuesday.
In his virtual address at a session on ”Future of India: LAC Partnerships in Services” at FICCI’s LEADS 2021 event, Thakur said India has set global standards in all five areas of leadership, excellence, adaptability, diversity and sustainability.
“The pandemic has mandated that we reimagine our future and realign our efforts. It has highlighted the importance of having a healthy body, clean surroundings and an inclusive society and that is why it is even more crucial that we engage with our partners for fruitful development of all.
“India has set global standards in all five areas of leadership, excellence, adaptability, diversity and sustainability. India has a great relationship with Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) partners. Over the years, the deep relationship with this region has translated well into great trade relations and brought the countries together in the path of sustainable economic development,” Thakur said.
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He said the bilateral trade in the region has increased five-fold in the last five years to reach approximately USD 39 billion.
The information and broadcasting minister said that several MoUs have been signed with LAC countries and even during the pandemic, the latter showed immense cooperation.
“More than 3,000 Indian nationals stranded in their region were repatriated. Different ways were found to fly out Indians which made the relations between India and these regions more cordial and friendly,” Thakur said.
He said that India has already established itself as the service sector hub of the world, especially providing highly professional IT and financial services.
“We have a growing pool of technologists, innovators and entrepreneurs who are developing simple solutions for complex problems. This commonality and relationship between our emerging markets can unlock new opportunities of industrial prosperity and human development.
“India and LAC nations have evolved as diversified and mature global trade and investment partners. However, the pandemic has highlighted the need for collaborative efforts in the service sector for transforming lives. The Indian government, led by the PM, has given various solutions which have far reaching benefits not just for India but for all interested partners,” he said.
Highlighting that India has a huge digital public infrastructure, Thakur cited an example of UPI BHIM App and said that clubbed with the trinity of Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile, it has ensured welfare delivery directly to the beneficiary without any delay.
“It brought more accountability and transparency to the system. Today, more than a billion biometric identities, more than a billion bank accounts and more than a billion cell phones give India by far the biggest digital public infrastructure in the world that is also shaping a billion new dreams. This is an opportunity, a market and transformation unlike any other in the world,” he said.
The minister said that another innovation which proved extremely beneficial in handling the pandemic was the Arogya Setu App which ensured smooth management of the pandemic last year and the COWIN app ensured smooth vaccination of people this year.
“These innovative solutions have set global benchmarks for the world. Not only this, the government has pushed for major reforms in ease of doing business. This has made India one of the most favoured investment destinations in the world,” he said.
Thakur said that the response of world investors is evident from FDI inflows of around USD 82 billion in the last year.
“This year, India has already attracted FDI inflow of more than USD 22.53 billion during the first three months,” he said.
Thakur threw light onagricultural reforms and said they have opened up space for large-scale efficiency and innovation. “It has paved the way for efficient farming inputs and supply chain management. Labor law reforms have made compliance much easier,” he said.
Deployment of GST along with faceless assessment and appeal of income tax have revolutionised the tax regime of the country, he said, adding that not only the world”s greatest tech giants are in awe of these immensely successful socially relevant innovations but other nations are also lining up to adopt these for their own citizens.
“This is a new India where policy makers are matching the pace of technology. Powered with youthful energy of 1.3 billion Indians, we are marching towards realising the dream of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) which is not just self sufficient but also capable of leading its partners in deploying innovative sustainable solutions,” Thakur said.
He said that technological changes bring systematic disruption and at the same time they come with a promise of raising global GDP and thereby incomes, improving healthcare, education and food production.
“I believe that the largest growth will be seen in the service sector and this growth will fuel progress in agriculture and the manufacturing sector too. These changes will provide immense opportunities for growth and development and provide avenues for employment. Thus, we need to develop inclusive and sustainable systems even further,” he said.