Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday his government has helped create “crores of employment opportunities” across sectors in the past four-and-a-half years.
The prime minister’s remarks assume significance as they come after the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, an independent think tank, recently estimated that 11 million jobs in the country were lost in 2018, with the rural sector being the worst hit. “Be it tourism, manufacturing or the services sector, crores of employment opportunities have been created in the last four-and-a-half years,” Modi said. He was speaking after inaugurating the Ahmedabad Shopping Festival, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country.
The event, being held on the lines of many international shopping festivals, is witnessing participation from over 15,000 sellers who are offering huge discounts to customers over the next 12 days. Modi urged the Gujarat government and organisers to make the festival an annual event. “We generally see organisation of such events along with big business summits in foreign countries only. Organisation of Ahmedabad Shopping Festival along with Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit is a commendable effort.
“Businessmen, from street-vendors to shopping malls, handicrafts to electronics and hotel-restaurant businesses have come here to promote their business,” he said. “I would like to urge Gujarat government, Ahmedabad and friends like Shailesh Patwari (former Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industry president) to see if this can be made an annual event and organised during the same time very year,” Modi said. He said events such as this will help small businesses find big markets.
Modi purchased a khadi jacket from the shopping festival. The prime minister said his government is helping the micro, small and medium enterprises in every possible way and listed initiatives taken by it to provide fillip to this sector. The move to increase interest subvention to 5 per cent and including merchant exporters in the scheme’s ambit is likely to benefit exporters by Rs 600 crore, he said.
Modi said the government has created the GEM (government e-marketplace) portal for smaller enterprises. The platform has witnessed trade of Rs 16,500 crore till now, the prime minister said. The country is now moving towards a system where banks will extend credit based only on GST returns, he said, adding efforts are on to streamline the indirect taxation reform. Modi said his government has been creating conducive environment for businesses.
“In the last four years, more than 100 rules were eased, old laws were scrapped, and transparency has been made a part of our work culture,” he said. This helped India climb up on the ease-of-doing-business ranking, Modi said. The roll-out of Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been a “big step” towards the direction of “honest trade system”, he said.
Modi said a slew of decisions made by the GST Council and efforts to make GST simpler are steps in that direction. “We are constantly trying to simplify GST system. We are correcting it using inputs from businesses, customers, and experience,” he said. Modi also inaugurated a statue of ISRO founder Vikram Sarabhai and said instilling scientific temper in more people would be the real tribute to the legendary space scientist.