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'Will Make It Easy To Do Business In India'

Amitabh Kant, NITI Aayog chief executive, talks to BW Businessworld's Neeta Misra about India's Industrial Policy and God's Own Country Tourism initiative in Kerala

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Amitabh Kant, NITI Aayog chief executive, talks to BW Businessworld's Neeta Misra about India's Industrial Policy and God's Own Country" Tourism initiative in Kerala. Excerpts:

What is the cornerstone of industrial policy in India?
Making India an easy simple place to do business. Personally, I feel that this is the most important pillar of industrial policy. The focus of policy needs to happen at the state level making individual states more business friendly.

Liberalising foreign direct investment to grow; it has grown by 50 per cent in the past two years but there is still room for growth. India in the past was a closed economy and only recently has become open. FDI is key particularly in the railways and defence. It will enable key technologies to come into these sectors and encourage international firms to manufacture in India also spurring domestic manufacturing.

However, FDI is not a panacea, domestic manufacturing in the long term will put us on a path to industrialisation. Increasing domestic manufacturing that is presently at 17 per cent to 25 per cent is a key policy focus.

Finally, spearheading the Start Up movement with a focus on fostering innovation. We need to innovate and invest disruptive technologies that will allow to leapfrog in all sectors of the economy.

Are we overly pre-occupied with GDP growth without thinking about where the benefits are accruing?
GDP growth is very important for the country. We must have a focused approach on increasing growth to 9-10 per cent if we are to achieve our long term industrial goals. However alongside the GDP growth we also need to see the Human Development Index (HDI) grow particularly in the areas of education, health and nutrition; the quality of life for citizens needs to increase as a result of overall growth.

What was the key to achieving success in the ‘God’s Own Country” Tourism initiative in Kerala that has become a model for the Incredible India?

God’s Own Country created jobs especially for women. It had a multiplier effect on tourism and employment. Key to its success was that the political system accepted tourism as a driver of the economy. Its success can also broadly be attributed to focusing on high value tourism, preserving local culture and traditional art forms, going back to the roots of Kerala and creating local entrepreneurs. The private sector played a key role by putting up the best resorts. It was a mix of these elements that led to the success of the initiative. The key impact was employment generation.

For states looking emulate the model; tourism is the quickest way to create jobs, they need to invest in infrastructure and the promotion and marketing of products.

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