Governor of Himachal Pradesh Shri Bandaru Dattatreya ji, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur ji, Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang ji, my Cabinet Colleague Prahlad Patel ji, Anurag Thakur ji, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Dr. Rajeev Kumar ji, Ambassador of UAE to India Dr. Ahmed Albana, prominent businessmen, other dignitaries present here and my dear friends!
Global Investors Summit has been organized in Dharamshala!!! It is not an imagination, it is a reality! It is unprecedented! it is amazing! Congratulations to you. It is a sort of statement from Himachal Pradesh to the whole country and to the whole world that- 'We too are now gearing up'!
Today Himachal is saying- Yes, We Have Arrived!!! So first of all, I congratulate the Government of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam ji and his team for organizing this event with the blessings of Maa Jwala ji.
Today we have all gathered together in a place every corner of which is the abode of power. Gods and goddesses, Rishis and ascetics have made it a divine place and have blessed with natural resources. I am delighted to welcome all the Wealth Creators in this environment.
Brothers and sisters,
Earlier these types of Investors' Summits used to take place in a few states of the country. There are many such people who have seen the conditions before. But now the situation is changing and one such evidence is that the summit has been organized here in Himachal. Now to attract businesses and investment in the states, a new competition has started.
A few decades ago the situation in our country was such that the states would compete in terms of which state would do more charitable work, which would provide more incentives, or provide tax concessions, which would provide electricity, or sell land at a cheap rate. The experience shows that such a competition did not produce expected results. Investors too used to wait for incentives and concessions from the states. Hence, they used to delay their investments in states. They thought why to take 5 per cent discount when there is a possibility of getting a discount of up to 10 per cent, or even 15 per cent?
I am glad that in the last few years, this situation has changed drastically. Now the state governments are realizing that the competition of concessions is good neither for the state nor for industries.
Friends, it is necessary for the investor to get an appropriate eco-system, to get rid of the inspector raj, and to not fall prey to the government's permit raj at every step. Now governments are coming forward in the competition to build this eco-system. They are simplifying the system, changing the laws and eliminating the unnecessary rules. The more this competition increases among the states, the more capable our industries will become on the global platform. Their ability to compete with other industries will also increase. It will benefit the states, the people of the states, the people of the country and India will move at a faster pace.
The industry also likes a transparent and clean system. Due to some avoidable rules and regulations and too much interference by the government, the pace of growth of industries is hindered. I am glad that keeping this idea in mind, the Government of Himachal Pradesh is taking important decisions, giving new incentives and is working in the right direction. Be it the system of single window clearance, transparent Land Allotment or sector-specific industry policy - these measures have turned the 'friendly environment' of this place to a business-friendly environment.
Big stalwarts of the industry are present here. All of you and other industrialist friends also understand well that when different units of a company produce good results, then the result of the company also improves automatically. So when something improves in the states, it has a direct impact on the results of the country. Due to the changes being brought in many states like Himachal Pradesh, today India has been recognized as a better business-friendly destination than ever before.
Today, the growth vehicle in India is running on 4 Wheels with new thinking and a new approach. One Wheel is Society, which is aspiring. The second Wheel is Government, which is Encouraging for New India. The third Wheel is that of Industry, which is daring and the fourth Wheel is of Knowledge, which is sharing. Thus, on these 4 Wheel we are moving at a fast pace.
Today the government is taking every decision according to the interest of India and the aspirations of the society of India. Today, the government is not only focusing on the poor's home, health, skills, but also on investment and self-employment.
Today, the focus is on service delivery, as much as it is on improving the business environment. The result is in front of you. Between 2014 and 2019, India has improved the Ease of Doing Business Ranking by 79 ranks. This time too we are one of the top 10 performers in the world. Every year we are rapidly improving a new parameter. Last year we have been able to improve 6 out of 10 Indicators. This time India has made a major leap in the category of insolvency. We have improved more than 50 ranks in the category.
Improving these rankings is not just a change in statistics. Improving these rankings means that our government is working at ground level understanding the needs at ground level, and making decisions and policies. Those who are sitting here know how earlier one had to wait months for each permission; how many processes one had to go through.
This is not just an improvement in rankings, but a revolution in the way of doing business in India and in this revolution we are adding new dimensions and making new reforms. In today's global scenario, Indian is standing strong because we have not allowed the fundamentals of our economy to weaken.
We have steadily maintained our commitment to macro-economics and have strictly followed the Fiscal Discipline. Today, when global economic activity is down by 3 per cent, India is growing at over 5 per cent. As per the current reports, India is expected to grow more rapidly in the coming months.
Our intentions are honest and sensitive. There is strength in our decisions and intentions. No one could have imagined that GST would ever be implemented in India. But we have shown this by implementing it. In the event of bankruptcy, the companies of the country did not have any clear exit route.
Today Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code - IBC is not only a reality but is also helping in the recirculation of the trapped amount of millions of rupees. Banking Reform has also been stuck for years. Our government is going ahead in this direction at a faster pace with complete determination. Keeping in mind the middle class of the country, last evening we took a major decision in the Cabinet. With this decision, more than four and a half lakh families will be able to fulfil their years-old desire of a dream home now. With the same intention, we have set a target of turning the nation into a $ 5 trillion economy.
Our government is emphasizing on the de-bottlenecking of government processes, increasing the Inter Department Co-ordination and taking decisions within the time limit.
Our effort is to make the Tax Regime competitive and transparent. A major historic decision related to Corporate Tax has been taken in the same context. Today India is one of the lowest corporate tax systems in the world. All the new domestic companies that have come up after October 1 this year, the corporate tax has been reduced to just 15 per cent for them.
The E-Assessment Scheme has been implemented last month itself. Now the Human Interface is being reduced to a minimum in the tax system. It will bring more Transparency and the tax related matters will be dealt with faster.
The goal of a $ 5 trillion economy is not just of the government. This goal will be achieved only with the cooperation of every state of the country. We have many possibilities in every state. There are many possibilities and immense potential in every district of the state. The greater the advantage of this potential is taken by the governments, industry, our small scale industries and service sector, the faster we will be able to move forward.
Brothers and sisters,
When potential is supported by policy, then performance improves manifold. It is the performance that brings progress. The progress of the districts, states, and the country is inter-connected. Let me give you another example. The example includes both international ranking and potential. And it is very important for Himachal. The ranking provided to Himachal Pradesh in the tourism sector will directly benefit Himachal Pradesh.
In 2013, India was ranked 65 in the World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index. Today we are at number 34. How did this change happen? Five years ago, India used to receive around 70-75 lakh foreign tourists annually. Last year, this figure had crossed 1 crore foreign tourists. How did this increase happen?
In 2014, people of India earned Rs 1 lakh 20 thousand crore in foreign exchange from the tourism sector. Last year, this foreign exchange increased to almost Rs 2 lakh crore. How did this change happen?
We understood the potential of the tourism sector, and made policy interventions in the travel and tourism sector, facilitated e-Visa to dozens of new countries, and as a result, the performance changed, the ranking changed.
Today tourism in India is being promoted as a package. Every type of tourism like nature, adventure, spiritual, medical, eco- tourism, is being emphasized. And Himachal is full of possibilities in this regard. Such a good event has been organized here today. Therefore, we are looking at the possibilities of conference tourism as well. If we understand this potential, progress will not be far away.
The coffee table book that has been released here or the film which has been shown, elaborates the potential of Himachal. I remember when I used to go to Solan, I would come across several boards saying - Welcome to Mushroom City. Likewise the potatoes of Lahaul-Spiti, Kullu's shawls, and the paintings of Kangra are also famous. But often people who come from outside would not know. There is also a need to think of new ways on how to promote these things that give an identity to each district. Therefore, I would also say that the potential of Himachal is still untapped.
Now imagine, Himachal has IIT, IIIT, NIT, CIPET, and the work is underway on IIFT. There is a potential of technology expansion here. There is a demand for fruits like apples, pears, plums as well as vegetables like tomatoes, guchhi, mushrooms, capsicum and hence there is tremendous potential in food, food processing, farming and pharma sectors.
Organic farming has been popular here for years. There is hardly any pharma company in the country that does not manufacture medicines in Himachal. There is a lot of potential for the expansion of this sector too.
Yes, I believe that in the midst of these immense possibilities, a gap was first felt in Himachal. This was a gap of quality infrastructure and simplification of government processes. The Central Government has tried its best to fill this gap with the support of the State Government. Since the time this opportunity has been given to Jairam ji's team here, the process has become faster.
Today in Himachal, many infrastructure and connectivity related projects are moving ahead fast. Work is going on at a rapid pace at every level, be it Hydropower, or other sources of Renewable Energy or Road, Rail or Air connectivity. I am told that Himachal Pradesh has started heli-taxi service under UDAN scheme. Shimla, Dharamshala, Kullu, Chandigarh have been connected to this facility.
Besides this, the National Highways are also being expanded with an investment of thousands of crores of rupees. Lahaul-Spiti and Ladakh will be benefitted from Rohtang Tunnel. The Nangal Dam-Talwada Rail line, Chandigarh-Baddi rail line, Una-Hamirpur rail line and Bhanupali-Bilaspur-Beri rail line will give a new dimension to the connectivity of the entire region. In the next few years, Himachal Pradesh would also get the benefits of investment of Rs. 100 lakh crores on the country's infrastructure in the next few years.
Today Himachal is truly ready to give new dimension to the growth story of India and I have my own understanding of Himachal behind this belief. Himachal fulfills every necessary condition for business. Peace is needed for business. It has always been the strength of Himachal. The society which accepts diversity has always been present in Himachal. Geographical and linguistic diversity is amazing here. Often people here don't understand each other's dialect, but the connection with each other is amazing.
Besides this, Himachal is among those states of the country where Literacy Rate is high. You will see people engaged in business in every corner of Himachal Pradesh. They do not wait for the government. They start with whatever resources they have. There is a natural entrepreneurial spirit within the people, which benefits the investors.
Moreover, Himachal Pradesh is a great strength for the country's defence sector. There is no family here which is not attached to the military force. And secondly, as I have a great experience here I can tell you that if you go to a village in Himachal, you will find a small India there. We have a big skill-set here in Himachal in the form of the experience of the retired Army personnel. This man-power can be very useful for many sectors and especially for the defence sector.
Himachal's community, its potential, your capital, and clarity in policy will become a medium of great change. And when you give more and more opportunities to the youth here, and use their talent, then these benefits will increase manifold.
In the end, I thank you all once again for taking part in this summit and I am not a guest here today, I am also sort of a Himachali. And that's why you have come here to me. You are all my guests and I assure you that if you try your luck in the land of Himachal, then Himachal will continue to bless you and you will continue to thrive, and progress a lot. Himachal will grow, India will grow and you all will also grow. With this same belief, my best wishes to all of you. Many congratulations and many thanks to the government for this magnificent event!
Thank you very much!