PM Modi holds series of meetings to boost economy amid coronavirus crisis

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a series of meetings to discuss strategies to boost the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and attract more foreign investments into India as well as promote local investments.

He reviewed the state of investments, the defence and aerospace sector and the mine and mineral sector.

An official statement said various strategies to bring investments into India on a fast-track mode and to promote Indian domestic sectors were discussed in the first meeting.

The high-level meetings come amid the ongoing global backlash against China.

Several companies are now looking for new bases to set up their businesses, according to reports.

Detailed discussions were also held on guiding states to evolve their strategies and to be more proactive in attracting investments, the statement said.

Reform initiatives undertaken by the various ministries should continue unabated and action should be taken in a time-bound manner to remove any obstacles which impede promotion of investment and industrial growth, the statement said, citing the discussions.

The meeting also discussed that a scheme should be developed to promote more “plug and play” infrastructure in the existing industrial lands, plots or estates in the country and provide necessary financing support.

During the meeting, Modi directed all concerned that action should be taken for a more proactive approach to “handhold” the investors, to look into their problems and help them in getting all the necessary central and state clearances in a time-bound manner.

Given the increasingly worrying economic uncertainty, the government has moved to reassure both global and local investor community with focus on encouraging infrastructure and manufacturing sector investments.

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While chairing the meet on defence and aerospace, he said India should reduce dependence on imports and take forward the “Make in India” initiative to build its domestic capabilities for designing, developing and manufacturing state-of-the-art defence equipment.

The meeting also discussed the potential reforms to ensure a robust and self-reliant defence industry in India that caters to short and long term needs of the armed forces.

The meet also discussed initiatives to give a boost to the economy in the backdrop of COVID-19, an official statement said.

The discussions involved reforming of the functioning of the ordnance factories, streamlining procurement procedures, focused resource allocation and encouraging research and development.

Attracting investment in critical defence technologies and promotion of exports also came up in the meet.

The prime minister laid emphasis on positioning India among the top countries of the world in defence and aerospace sectors, from design to production, with active participation of public and private sector fulfilling the twin objectives of self-reliance and exports.

He reviewed the proposed reforms for attracting domestic and foreign investment in defence sector.

It was discussed that defence expenditure be “economised” and the savings be channelised for strategic defence capital acquisition.

Reviewing the mines and mineral sector, Modi laid special focus on improving the country’s self-reliance in production of minerals and their in-country processing.

Auctioning of additional blocks, encouraging wider participation in auctions, increasing the production of mineral resources, reducing the cost of mining and cost of transporting formed part of the discussion.

The deliberations also focussed on increasing ease of doing business while also reducing carbon footprint with environmentally sustainable development.

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