India's New Industry Policy to Focus on Industries that 'Aren't Even Born Today', Says Suresh Prabhu

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According to the commerce and industry minister, the policy is being designed in a way that it will adequately adress the future needs of industry and that prior attempts in 1956 and 1991 were driven by "ideology" or formulated at a time of financial crisis.

New Delhi: From ease of doing business to ease of trading, from harnessing the power of digital economy to preparing a regulatory mechanism that promotes sunrise sectors, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu’s office has become a hub of ideas for India’s upcoming industrial policy.

“For the first time, we are working on ease of trading that has never been done before. My ministry has started working on ease of trading, wherein we will be creating one common platform to ensure that even trading related issues are addressed,” said Prabhu.

With industries such as the information technology, real estate and mining slowing down, the ministry has the challenge of finding employment opportunities in other avenues.

“Our next focus is on new industries. See there are industries that aren’t even born today. The sectors which are not even born today are the sectors which are going to grow faster. So you must focus on those sectors. So, we are focusing on that. It’s a very clear element,” explained Prabhu.

Elaborating on the industries that the policy will focus on, Prabhu said, “We are working very minutely on it. Broadly, energy, artificial intelligence, genomics, life sciences and blockchain technology. These are the kind of sectors which will really grow exponentially.”

India had its first industrial policy back in 1956 with its successor coming into effect only in 1992. “This is only the third industrial policy post-independence. I think now when we are talking about the threshold of the digital economy, we should think about how to do business with least hurdles by the government by removing all the roadblocks that are there in the way,” stated Prabhu.

A committee under the chairmanship of the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) has been set up to look into all the regulatory issues designated to remove the hurdles with regard to the budget. Corresponding labour laws and welfare measures shall also be discussed under this committee.

The ministry in an official statement on 29 August 2017 said the new Industrial Policy will subsume the National Manufacturing Policy.

The announcement comes ahead of the Indian contingent’s visit to Davos for the World Economic Forum where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be addressing the plenary session.

The commerce minister will also be deliberating and is looking forward to big investments coming India’s way.

“The whole world is interested in India. They are all looking up to it. Look at foreign direct index (FDI) numbers. These are clearly showing where the world is heading for. People want to put money into India. We are removing a lot of sectoral caps. We are making sure that the procedural formality that one has to undergo is reduced. Ease of doing business has gone up. This is what the foreign investors look at,” said Prabhu.

India recently jumped 30 places in the ease of doing business report by the World Bank.