President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said Uttar Pradesh had the potential to become a trillion dollar economy in the near future since it has an abundance of socioeconomic resources such as manpower, handicraft and traditional industries.
Kovind's comments came less than two weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also remarked, at the same venue in Lucknow, that UP was on track to becoming India's first trillion dollar economy as it derived strength from the radical policy interventions and various development projects of the Yogi Adityanath government.
After inaugurating UP's flagship 'One District, One Product' (ODOP) Summit at the Indira Gandhi Pratisthan, Kovind said the state was bestowed with all the natural and man-made resources, including prominent rivers and the country's largest railroad network, apart from famous tourist destinations such as the Taj Mahal and Sarnath.
"India will develop only when UP develops," he said, underlining the importance of the country's most populous state in bolstering the aggregate growth of the nation as a whole. He also said that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) formed the backbone of the Indian economy by creating job opportunities while requiring a lesser amount of capital and by contributing in the equitable distribution of resources.
"UP has the largest number of MSMEs and the state would be able to enjoy its demographic dividend with the growth of the sector," he added.
Kovind said that the Centre had also been working towards creating an enabling MSME ecosystem in the country. He added that the country needed to learn how to earn foreign exchange and create jobs, by promoting its inherent strengths in craftsmanship and industries, from developed economies.
He said that ODOP was a step in the same direction, which would help the state's craftsmen and artisans hone their skills and access national and international markets for marketing their products.
On the occasion, the state government exchanged memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with e-commerce major Amazon, Wipro, GE Healthcare, Quality Control of India (QCI), National Stock Exchange (NSE) and BSE for helping the MSME sector through skill training, capital, marketing support and other institutional aids.
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Bank loans worth over Rs 10 billion were distributed to 4,095 SME entrepreneurs to expand their units. Apart from that, the President unveiled the ODOP helpline and ODOP website. The attending craftsmen were also given toolkits.
In his address, Adityanath said that the state wanted to replicate the success of Japan and Thailand in promoting traditional industries for socioeconomic growth through ODOP, which seeks to bolster traditional crafts in all the 75 districts of UP.
He said the government was targeting to help 2.5 million youth in getting jobs and self-employment avenues over the next five years with ODOP, which is aimed at projecting 'Brand UP' globally. The state has made a budgetary provision of Rs 2.5 billion for the scheme.