How is the government planning to tackle the infrastructural issues that are plaguing the large cities in India?
Infrastructure is key to development of any large modern city; and our cities are faced with heavy congestion. The government is running multiple initiatives such as AMRUT and Smart Cities that would eventually help in dispersion of population from large cities. Under the new industrial policy, we are focussing on the creation of high-quality infrastructure through easier access to affordable capital. The ministry is also developing the National Logistics Integrated Plan that will help in identifying infrastructure requirements for transport and warehousing across India, thereby reducing the burden on large Indian cities.
What is the government’s standing on China’s success in the last two decades in manufacturing (it was able to invite global sourcing companies into its markets in each city)? What is the way ahead for us?
We have a dual-focus approach on strengthening the manufacturing ecosystem in the country. First is to build on labour-intensive sectors such as textiles, leather, etc. In this regard, we recently brought about a Rs 2,400-crore package for the leather sector. In the mid-term review of the Foriegn Trade Policy, special focus was given to textiles. We would continue to do similar targeted interventions.
The other focus area is to build sectors of future. Under the new industrial policy, we will be focusing on creating an ecosystem for some of the industries of the future, such as genomics, UAVs, chemical, medical devices, etc, to thrive in India. We are creating detailed plans in consultation with line ministers. The focus is to integrate the Indian industry into the global value chain that is bound to pull global sourcing companies into India.
What kind of incentives are you considering for the states that promote exports?
We are currently working on creating state-led strategies for boosting exports. Each strategy will focus on leveraging existing comparative advantages. We are also working towards an outcome-based incentivisation structure that will boost the spirit of competitive federalism. The biggest incentive in promoting exports for states is that it leads to boost in state GDP in addition to creation of jobs. We also have recently started a scheme to support export infrastructure creation by states.
How are you planning to regulate e-commerce platforms that claim to be a marketplace and often indulge in unfair practices much to the disadvantage of offline markets?
Our policy on e-commerce is very clear. Under the Foreign Direct Investment policy, e-commerce platforms can only adopt the marketplace model and cannot own the inventory. E-commerce as a subject is being continuously monitored, and as mentioned earlier, a task force has been set up under an officer of the rank of secretary, with one of the key focus areas being weeding out of unfair practices. But still, e-commerce is an effective mechanism for consumers, and has seen unprecedented growth in the last few years. Even in World Trade Organization discussions, it is one of the agenda items. It is imperative to balance both the consumer and retailer point of view in drafting any policy regime.