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Honourable Prime Minister of Bhutan, Honourable Prime Minister of Macedonia, Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim,

Honourable Ministers and dignitaries from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, Iran, Israel, Japan, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, UAE and United Kingdom 

Excellencies, Ladies & Gentlemen!

On behalf of the people of India and on my personal behalf, I welcome you all to this Summit.  In January, 2013,  while concluding the sixth Summit, I had extended an invitation for today’s event.  Your response has been outstanding. I am glad to be here to welcome you. On this occasion, I express my gratitude to the old partners of this event - both countries and organisations. These include Japan and Canada. Without their support, this event could not have come this far.

I also welcome warmly and thank new partners like USA, UK, Netherlands, Australia, Singapore and South Africa for joining this event.

I particularly thank the Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the World Bank  for their presence. It shows their commitment towards progress and prosperity in emerging economies.

Your partnership has enhanced  the enterprising spirit of 60 million Gujaratis  It has boosted the morale of 1.2 billion Indians. This event is perhaps the biggest gathering on earth where, a budding entrepreneur has the opportunity to see  the President of the World Bank. And where a young farmer, dreaming to set up a food processing unit,  can listen to the views of the UN Secretary General  on issues like food security.  That is why,  during one of the previous events,  I had called it ‘Davos in Action’. 

Friends! India has always believed that the whole world is one family  (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam).  Few have seen this in practice  I am informed that more than hundred countries  are participating in this event.

We are here as a family  not only in terms of space,  but also because we recognise that:  

  • Someone’s dream is dependent on someone’s direction;
  • Someone’s success is related to someone’s support;
  • Someone’s curiosity is linked to someone’s care;

This is what a family does. The ultimate objective is welfare of all  Loka Samastah Sukhinau Bhavantu. 

I am sure all of us,  from the Secretary General of UN  to the President of the World Bank, from leaders of the strongest economies  to delegations of small countries,  from CEOs of Fortune 500 companies  to start-up entrepreneurs,  all want the planet earth to become a better place to live.

Thus,  our meeting here is not just -

  • A meeting of hands  but also of hearts;
  • It is not only a meeting of ideas,  but also of aspirations

 As a host to this family gathering, As a curator of thousands of dreams floating here,

I welcome you all once again  

I hope your stay here is comfortable. I trust you will enjoy our hospitality. This is the time of Kite Festival in Gujarat. This festival  gives us the message of high spirits.  Do participate in it.

Friends! After becoming Prime Minister, I have travelled  to the remotest parts of India  and also to various parts of the world.  I have been to the UN, BRICS, ASEAN, East Asian Summit, G-20 and SAARC summits. Some common worries have been expressed everywhere. The biggest concern is about the global economy. We all have to find ways  for its stability and recovery. We also have to work  for sustainable and inclusive growth.

We,  in India,  believe that problems present us  with opportunities to become stronger,  disciplined and innovative.

My Government is trying to generate confidence.  We have prepared a team  to secure a robust future.  We believe that  changes start with a change in mindset.

Friends! It is a matter of great pride that today,  there is tremendous interest in India. Countries are coming forward to work with us. This has,  of course,  generated expectations from us.

India’s present  as well as its rich past  is being recognised I thank the UN Secretary General  for giving a formal international stature to Yoga. A record number of 177 countries supported the Indian proposal. Yoga is both a science  and an art  for improving human life. In today’s world,  it teaches us to remain stable  even in adverse situations.

Friends,  the 2009 edition of this event  created vibrancy when the state of the global economy was depressing. The summits of 2011 and 2013  succeeded in strengthening investor confidence.

It is only because of persistence with positivity  that this event of Gujarat Government  has become an event for the entire country.  This platform has been enlarged  so that other states too  can take advantage.  Today,  many other states have adopted this approach  The Government of India is committed to support  such initiatives by any state government.

Friends!  We will have to change the way we have been approaching problems.  Recession is often seen  just in the context of business and Industry.

Have we ever thought of recession as being the result of low per capita income in countries  where a majority of the global population lives?

Have we ever thought of its solution  in terms of enhancing  the common man’s employability, income and purchasing power?  This is the biggest task at hand in India.  Mahatma Gandhi rightly talked about the last man.  And Gandhiji’s message  can show us the way  It is therefore appropriate that this summit is taking place  in Mahatma Mandir.

To me,  the best outcome of this event  should be inclusiveness and involvement of communities  needing care and development.

Thus, this event stands for-

  • Inclusiveness of small with big;
  • Inclusiveness of poor with rich;
  • Inclusiveness of gut feelings with mature thoughts

I assure this global platform  that India wants to work with the global leadership. Be they issues of poverty or ecology. We want to contribute to welfare of the global community. We are aware that  with one sixth of the world’s population,  our activities will have a global impact.  We are ready to learn  and make this impact positive.

However,  India has to be seen from a different angle  It is not just a country of today. It is also an old civilisation. It is not just a country of a few cities. It is a country of thousands of towns and several hundred thousand villages. It is a country of diverse communities  Therefore,  India has its own solutions  for many pressing problems.

  • Our philosophy is a philosophy of conservation;
  • Our culture teaches us nurturing of nature;
  • Our way of life is that of harnessing

Such thoughts and practices  have existed in India for centuries.  Thus,  whatever we will do,  it will be aligned with our culture,  ethos  and beliefs.  Because, we know,  this is what will work in India.

Friends!  Our last national elections  marked a turning point in Indian democracy. They indicated the high aspirations of our people. This was amply reflected in the record voter participation and a clear verdict in favour of one political party  after a gap of 30 years.

My government is committed to changing and improving the economic and social condition of India  including the quality of life.

In a short span of seven months,  we have been able to change  the atmosphere of despair and uncertainty. Since the first day, my government is actively working to revive the economy. My government is committed  to create a policy environment  that is predictable, transparent and fair.

Friends!  We are on the path of transformation. To start this process,  we are making efforts  to change the work culture. We have to strengthen our institutions  and systems of delivery. To drive this change forcefully, we have recently re-constituted our Planning Commission  Now, it is known as NITI Ayog.

We want to promote  co-operative federalism in the country  At the same time, we want a competitive element among the states  to create and attract whatever is needed there.  I call this new form of federalism  Co-operative and Competitive Federalism.

You may be aware that  our economic growth had slowed down  during the last few years  Now,  my Government is putting all efforts  to ensure faster and yet inclusive growth. The initial results are encouraging.

On the economic front,  during the first two quarters,  we registered a growth rate  which was one percent higher than the previous year.  The IMF has observed that  India will be the 2nd fastest growing economy in the coming years.

According to the latest forecast of the OECD,  India would be the only country among world's top economies  which would increase its pace of growth this year  HSBC's latest report has identified India  as the world's largest growing exporter,  which is set to move  from being the fourteenth  to the fifth largest exporter in the world  by 2030.

On the political front also,  people of various states have supported us  in the recent Assembly elections.

This gives us the confidence that  we are moving in right direction.  Let me tell you a little about  what we are doing  and where we want to reach.

Friends! We are not merely making commitments and announcements.  We are also backing them up  with concrete action  at the level of policy and practice. For example,  I announced a Financial Inclusion programme. In four months,  we have opened  more than 100 million bank accounts.

We are planning to build smart cities  equipped with world-class amenities. For this purpose, we have further liberalized the FDI policy in construction sector.

I announced that a modern rail system including high speed rails  will be set up  Immediately, we opened up railways for 100% FDI. I announced that defence production in the country would be encouraged. The next step was to open the defence sector  for FDI up to 49%.  We have taken similar steps in many other areas. These include bringing 49% FDI in insurance.  It also includes  liberalization of FDI norms for manufacturing of medical devices.

Simultaneously, on the administrative front, we are actively working to provide policy driven governance. We have taken far reaching decisions  to ensure supply of key natural resources. This includes coal, iron ore and other minerals. We have also amended legal provisions  to facilitate availability of land. This has been done  to enable development in remote areas  while ensuring better returns to the farming community.

We are trying to complete  the circle of economic reforms speedily.  We are also keen to see that  our policies are predictable. We are clear that our tax regime should be stable. In the last few months,  we have taken several decisions in this direction.

We have put focus  on building Infrastructure through public and private Investments. This will include  national roads,  national grids of gas, electricity and water. It also includes rural infrastructure,  24x7 electric supply,  farm irrigation  and cleaning of rivers.

In order to execute the infrastructure plan,  a fast track PPP mechanism is being put in place.

We are undertaking  the Sagarmala project  to ensure port led development.  Existing ports are being modernized.   New world class ports will be developed  along India's coast.  Ports will be better connected to the hinterland  through road and rail  Inland and coastal waterways  will be developed  as major transport routes.  Low cost airports are being planned  to improve regional connectivity,  especially to tier-two towns  and places of economic and tourist importance.

We are also keen  to move towards the next generation infrastructure   Just as we need highways, we need I-ways too  Under the Digital India Initiative, IT will be used to drive Government processes  to improve service delivery and program implementation, and also to provide broadband connectivity to villages.

To upgrade manufacturing Infrastructure,  we are setting up world-class investment and industrial regions  along the dedicated freight corridors and industrial corridors Government of India is working towards single window clearance  at the Federal and State levels.

Four months back, we launched Make In India initiative  to encourage the growth of manufacturing in the country. We are working hard  to make India a global manufacturing hub. We are promoting,  in particular,  labour intensive manufacturing.

I have launched these initiatives  in a campaign mode  so that they force us in the Government to make faster corrections. They challenge us to do away with the red tape  and become pro-active  With this purpose, our applications and processes are being aggressively put online.

Ease of doing business in India  is a prime concern for you and us.  I assure you that  we are working very seriously on these issues  We want to make them:

  • Not only easier than earlier;
  • Not only easier than the rest;
  • But, we want to make them the easiest

Friends!  Many of you might be interested to know -  Why India?  India has three things to its credit -  Democracy,  Demography  and Demand.  This is what you are looking for.

And I am sure,  you will not find all of them together  at any other destination  India offers you the potential of low cost manufacturing.  India has low cost and high quality manpower 65% of our population  is below 35 years of age. We are trying to further harness these strengths  through better management and good governance.

In the recently launched Mars Orbiter Mission, everything was made indigenously  In fact,  most mission components were made  in very small factories.

Friends!  We have large number of hands to work. And, we have even larger number of dreams  to be realised. Therefore,  employment opportunities are being enhanced  by promoting manufacturing,  agro-based industries,  tourism as well as services  We have undertaken labour reforms  to encourage enterprise  and to create a bigger job market  for our youth.

I have always said that  development process should benefit  the common man  as well as the business sector.

Therefore,  my Government has established  a new Ministry for skill development  to enhance our human resource potential. For this,  we are placing equal emphasis on knowledge, technology,  innovation  and research and development.  This includes the use of ICT  for improving governance and resource management. I understand this because. I use modern tools of communication myself.

Friends!  Today,  India is a land of opportunities. We have to build  fast track roads and railways. We have to energise homes and factories  on a continuous basis. We have to build infrastructure for cities  where almost half of our population lives. We have to take the taste of modern amenities to every village. We have to propel our growth  through value addition in our natural resources  and agri-produce. We have to provide services to our people  which are of global standards.  At the same time,  the whole world is looking for certain services. If our human resource can be equipped with skills and technology, we may serve the world in many areas.

Thus,  there are immense possibilities  for global investors in India  The process of development we are taking up  is not incremental  We are planning to take a quantum leap. It is not limited to one sector  or region, it is truly unlimited. And we want to do things  in a cleaner and greener way. We are open to ideas, investments  and innovations.

Friends!

  • We have made commitments to our people
  • We have made commitments to ourselves
  • We have made commitments for India’s great future
  • We have to write our new destiny
  • And we have to write it in a very short time

We know that to do this,  we need an enabling policy framework  We are working constantly to improve it further. However,  I can say with confidence  that even today,  the strength of Indian democracy  and independence of our judicial system provide a level playing field  for long lasting business.

 I would conclude  by saying that-

  • We are dreaming big;
  • And our dreams are numerous;
  • Our dreams can become  the seeds of your growth;
  • Our aspirations can propel your ambitions

Friends!  on behalf of the Government,  let me give an assurance  We assure you that  we will be available to hold your hands  whenever you need us. You will find us standing with you in your journey  If you walk one step; we will walk two steps for you.

At the end,  I urge you to see  and realise  for yourself that -

  • India is changing fast;
  • India is growing fast ;
  • India is moving faster than expected;
  • India is learning even faster;
  • India is ready than ever before

Let us join hands! Let us work together  for progress,  prosperity and peace

Thank you

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My intention is to make India, which is already the cutting and polishing hub, into an International Diamond Trading Hub: PM 
Our goal is to transform India in one generation: PM Modi 
#MakeInIndia one of the most transformative initiatives, our aim is to make India a preferred destination for manufacturing: PM 
Gems & jewellery industry must encourage start-ups, create a growing market for made-to-order Indian jewellery: PM

Distinguished Guests from India and abroad

Delegates

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am very happy to address you at this charity dinner at the International Diamond Conference. This conference is part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India. The conference on the theme of “Mines to Market 2017”, brings together miners, diamond companies, experts, retailers, bankers and analysts from across the globe.

Since the council was created fifty years ago, India has made rapid strides in this industry. As you all know, India is now the world’s largest manufacturer of cut and polished diamonds. The gems and jewellery sector is one of the leading sectors in India in terms of value of exports as well as employment generation. In the last four decades, India has emerged as the leader in diamond manufacturing and export. Exports of gems and jewellery from India account for fifteen percent of India’s total merchandise exports. This is one of India’s success stories. From just twenty eight million dollars in 1966-67, exports reached one billion dollars in 1982-83 and two billion dollars in 1987-88. It crossed ten billion dollars in 2003-04, twenty billion dollars in 2007-08 and is now nearly forty billion dollars.

Friends, till recently Indian importers had to go abroad to view and purchase rough diamonds. This reduced the efficiency of the supply chain. Many of you wanted us to enable viewing and trading to happen in India. In December, 2014 at the World Diamond Conference held in Delhi, I had announced in the presence of the Russian President that we would set up a Special Notified Zone to achieve this. This promise has been kept. Amendments have been made to our laws to enable rough diamonds to enter and exit, duty free for the purpose of viewing. The Special Notified Zone at the Bharat Diamond Bourse became operational in November, 2015. This has already shown good results. Earlier only eighty to ninety big merchants used to get access to global rough diamonds by travelling to Belgium, Africa and Israel. Now, about three thousand small and medium merchants have this privilege through the new Special Notified Zone. Many of the most reputed international names in the diamond industry have conducted over two hundred and forty four days of viewings. My intention is to make India, which is already the cutting and polishing hub, into an International Diamond Trading Hub.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our goal is to transform India in one generation. Since taking office, this government has placed emphasis on many transformative initiatives. ‘Make in India’ is one of them. Our aim is to make India a preferred destination for manufacturing. In the last fifty years, the gems and jewellery sector has accounted for four hundred and seventy five billion dollars of exports. This is despite the fact that India has little diamond or gold production. Another important initiative is Skill India. Skill India aims to ensure that new entrants to the work force have the necessary skills to contribute to the economy of the 21st century. The gems and jewellery sector employs 4.6 million people. Out of this, one million people are in the diamonds industry alone. Thus the gems and jewellery sector is a prime example of the potential of ‘Make In India’ and Skill India.

Today, we have with us Ministers from several African countries. India cherishes its excellent relations with Africa. Our shared post-colonial heritage and the similarity of the challenges we face, make us natural partners. I take this opportunity to assure my friends from Africa that India will be happy to support them in developing their gems and jewellery sector, and in training their technicians.

I began by saying that this sector has come a long way from where it was. However it is still far behind where it should be. Our strongest area is diamond cutting and polishing. In terms of the global value in the gems and jewellery market, our share is lower than it should be. Our future is much bigger than cutting and polishing alone. We have a lot of unexplored potential. Let me ask you a question:

What is your strategy for increasing India’s share of the hand made jewellery market?

I am told that to a significant extent, Indian exports are importer-led: the specifications and designs are based on preferences given by importers. This means that India is a follower of global fashion rather than a leader of global taste. This does not do justice to our rich experience and abundant design talent. Let me give an example. India has many famous icons, sculptures and statues dating back over two thousand years. Many of them are shown wearing jewellery. These works of art have captivated people from around the world. Have we documented these? Have we thought of promoting jewellery based on these works of art?

Friends. We live in an era where cloth retailers change people’s preferences. Even hair dressers change hair style fashions of their clients. We live in an era where diamonds are used in spectacles, watches and pens. Can’t our jewellers, with their skills, strengths and heritage, create and change global tastes and fashions?

In order to be able to influence and change global fashion, our industry first needs to have a thorough knowledge of its market. The industry collectively needs to study and understand the end-users and what they want: for example, some areas and some groups may prefer gold, others silver and yet others platinum. The basic point is that we cannot be world leaders without first connecting strongly with the client. E-commerce makes it much easier to establish direct contact with the end-user. This is a golden opportunity for the Indian industry. The industry could think of encouraging start-ups by young entrepreneurs who can create a growing market for made-to-order Indian jewellery.

There was a time in the past where some products from India had achieved a global reputation. Today, India has acquired a global brand for high skills and excellence in software.  We are yet to do that in jewellery. If we do that, the potential is huge. This is a task which the Council should take up in right earnest. But the states also have a role to play. Since taking office, we have encouraged state governments to take an active role in export promotion. I hope the industry is in constant touch with them. Apart from exports, India as the fastest growing economy in the world will also see increased domestic demand.

It is important for the industry to plan its growth. But that is not enough. It is also necessary for you to think of the weakest among you. The Council should consider taking a census of the lowest-paid and least prosperous persons in your industry,  for example the workers living in places like Jaipur, Thrissur, Varanasi, Rajkot, Jaipur and Coimbatore. Can the industry ensure that every one of them is enrolled in the Government’s low cost social security schemes like

-- the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana for accident insurance

--the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana for life insurance and

--the Atal Pension Yojana for an assured minimum pension?

The accident insurance cost is about a rupee a month and the life insurance costs about a rupee a day. A bank deposit of approximately five thousand rupees would earn enough interest to pay these premia permanently.

Friends. India will celebrate the seventy fifth anniversary of its Independence in 2022. What goals is the gems and jewellery industry setting for itself by that date? What can you do for the country by then? Where do you think the industry should be by then? How will you get there? How many new jobs can you create? I call upon you to give this a serious thought and come up with a plan. If changes are needed in regulations, I ask you to come up, with specific and practical suggestions. We can certainly consider them if they are in the interest of our country.

I conclude by thanking you for this opportunity to share my thoughts. I wish the conference all success.