Improving investment climate in the country’s north will be the key to facilitating growth and employment generation, as per the 2012-13 agenda of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The region will continue with its theme of ‘Building a Sustainable North for Tomorrow’, which entails laying out a roadmap to make the region a preferred investment destination and manufacturing hub and strengthening governance and inclusivity besides pushing for policy reform to fast-track an enabling investment climate in the region, according to CII chairman (northern region) Malvinder Mohan Singh.
The chamber plans to build a sustainable, futuristic and inclusive North, with focus on reviewing economic growth, he told his first press conference after taking over the post. The region, constituting eight upcountry states besides the union territory of Chandigarh, contributes about 25.4 per cent of the national economy. The CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 2004-05 and 2010-11 was 8.3 per cent.
“The region has immense potential, but investments have not been commensurate with its size and resource base,” said Singh, who is chairman of Fortis Healthcare Limited. “The CII believes that sustained and planned reform can help overcome the challenges.”
As for the proposed goods and services tax (GST), he noted that its implementation can help in the creation of a common market, and increase the GDP size by 1 to 1.5 per cent. Therefore, advocacy and consensus-building on the GST will figure among the CII’s “top agenda” in the region this year. Affirmative action, too, would continue to be a feature. The confederation would also press for an effective single-window system. “It would be a vital enabler for doing business within a state for investors — both the existing industries and the new ones,” he maintained.
Further, skill development and education will continue to remain a “thrust area”. “We have set up a training centre in Bhiwadi (Rajasthan),” he said. “CII will conduct skill gap studies in UP, Haryana and Chandigarh; besides advocacy on technical education policy for the states of Punjab, UP and Uttarakhand.”
The region has adopted 126 ITIs under the PPP (public-private partnership) mode. These would now be audited for better compliances so as to strengthen the industry-institute interface.
The chamber was working out a university-industry partnership on the lines of Delhi University and Punjab Technical University for Chandigarh, Haryana and Uttarakhand. In Chandigarh, the CII would enhance its engagement with Panjab University by working on the curriculum, faculty development, lectures by global leaders and reserach and development projects.
MSMEs will be a key constituency for CII, constituting 70 per cent of its regional membership. The chamber will increase its engagement with the CII Avantha Centre for Competitiveness for SMEs, and form three clusters in Punjab and Haryana for automotive and light engineering.
It is working with the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to engage with Dalit entrepreneurs to enhance supplier diversity. The chamber would explore newer markets in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.
CII deputy chairman (North) Jayant Davar said the chamber was looking forward to nuclear power for the region’s industry to accelerate capacity addition.