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Prime Minister outlined a comprehensive vision for India to be a leading economy in the world

• Continuity in policy reforms to be maintained, Innate strength of 130 crore Indians to be leveraged for making India Atmanirbhar: FICCI President Dr Sangita Reddy

NEW DELHI, : Commenting on the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on the occasion of India’s 74th Independence Day, Dr Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI said, “The address by the Prime Minister was a source of great inspiration for all Indians across the world. He highlighted the country’s achievements across areas as well as laid out the roadmap for the next set of milestones we need to collectively work towards. The message and import of Atmanirbhar Bharat was highlighted by the Prime Minister in very clear terms and shows that a strong and self-reliant India can be a source of great contribution to the world as well. We live in an interconnected world where India’s contribution must increase for the global good and this can be achieved only when we are strong from within.”

“In the realm of industry, we need to minimise our dependence on imports and focus more on domestic value addition. We need to ‘Make in India’ coupled with ‘Make for the World’. In agriculture, our focus should be on serving new markets and become the food bowl for the world. In healthcare, our priority should be to serve our people in the best possible manner as well as offer India as a destination for medical tourism. In energy sector, as we ramp up our capacity, we can also help support our neighbours who need to meet their own energy demands. Through a spate of reforms that have been unveiled by the government over time, the foundation has been laid to achieve many of these objectives and have a strong and prosperous India for a strong and prosperous world,” added Dr Reddy.

The Prime Minister shared with the people the progress made under several national initiatives aimed at improving the lives of the citizens of our country. Be it the mega infrastructure development program as contained in the National Infrastructure Pipeline Project or the Jal Jeevan Mission under which piped clean drinking water is being provided to 1 lakh plus households on a daily basis or the ambitious program to reach out to all the 6 lakh gram panchayats in the country and connect them with optical fibre network, the Prime Minister once again highlighted that India needs to think big and be ambitious in its targets.

“Amidst the current healthcare crisis that we are facing in the form of COVID-19, the importance of the healthcare sector was also highlighted by the Prime Minister in his address. FICCI is happy to note the launch of the National Digital Health Mission under which each individual will get a unique health ID that would be the reference point for his or her health status. FICCI has been working in this area for long and we congratulate the government for taking forward this initiative. It is also reassuring to note that the government has also put in place a blueprint and plan for the distribution of the much anticipated COVID-19 vaccine across the country,” said Dr Reddy.

Even as we take further steps to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure in the country, FICCI feels that a lot more emphasis should be given on promoting PPPs in hospitals at the district level; measures must also be taken to widen the ambit of coverage under the Ayushman Bharat scheme and develop innovative co-pay models for meeting healthcare expenses; and investment undertaken to ramp up skilled manpower required by the healthcare sector.

“Another key area that found a mention in the PM’s address was the contribution of women to the growth and development of India. The Prime Minister outlined several of his government’s initiatives in this regard and we are particularly happy to note the reference drawn to easy accessibility and distribution of sanitary pads through the Jan Aushadhi Kendras across the country. By bringing up the subject of women’s hygiene, the Prime Minister ensured that such important subjects get raised at the highest level and attract the attention of all people,” added Dr Reddy.

Besides the above, announcements such as having a new National Cyber Security Plan, increasing the number of wellness centres across villages as well as broadening the coverage under the Ayushman Bharat program, having an integrated pollution reduction plan across cities, focusing on green development, promoting connectivity with different islands of the country etc. underline the comprehensive development agenda of the government.