Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged young CEOs to partner with the government on a continuous basis and help make its development agenda a mass movement. “I want #ChampionsOfChange to become soldiers of a prosperous & developed India. You are my team to take India forward,“ the NITI Aayog tweeted, quoting the Prime Minister.
Modi addressed 200 young CEOs who attended a NITI Aayog organised programme where they were divided into six groups to deliberate on how to take the country forward on six identified areas. They brainstormed through the day and interacted with secretaries of various ministries and departments besides ministers to chart out a policy blueprint, which was then presented before the PM.
The six groups can be attached permanently to the concerned ministries, Modi said, suggesting also that they meet every month to discuss new ideas and take the development agenda forward. “Create a digital platform where you can invite new people and interact with them,“ he said.
The key decision-making team of the government has listened to the presentations made by the CEOs and the 360-degree view of issues that have been presented before them will surely help in policy-making, he said. “You are my team, and we need to work together to take India forward,“ the PM said.
Development must become a mass movement and a spirit should be created whereby all set their targets for the contribution to the country , Modi added. Giving the example of value addition in agriculture, the PM said a multipronged approach is essential for achieving desired objectives such as doubling of agriculture income. Emphasising the importance of food processing, Modi said lack of infrastructure is leading to huge losses in the agriculture sector. The government has taken anumber of decisions that have bro ught about a fundamental transformation in the sector, he said, while listing steps such as those to ensure the availability and production of urea. This led to an additional production of 20 lakh tonnes of urea.
He said the government wants to move towards making India a less cash society . He asked the CEOs to partner with the government to build momentum in this regard.
On occasions such as festivals, khadi could be promoted through gifting, etc. This would greatly help the poor, he said, adding that an atmosphere must be created to take the poor along in every sphere of life.
The PM gave the example of Government e-Marketplace to show how small traders are competing successfully in provision of supplies to the government. Goods worth Rs.1,000 crore have been transacted through GeM so far and 28,000 suppliers have contributed to this platform, he said.
Giving the example of “waste to wealth“ entrepreneurs, Modi said this can help achieve the objectives of Swachh Bharat and clean environment. He said the aim of entrepreneurs and business should be to provide products which solve simple problems faced by the people of the country.
The NITI Aayog, the government's policy think tank that pioneered the Champions of Change initiative, had divided the CEOs into groups, each dealing with an issue: doubling of farmers' incomes, creating cities of tomorrow, Make in India, reforming the financial sector, world class infrastructure and New India--2022.
This is the second part of the initiative. Another set of young entrepreneurs had met last week to discuss similar issue the country faces. The CEOs group included Rajiv Bajaj of Bajaj Auto, Nikhil Nanda of Escorts, Avni Biyani of Future Retail, Sangeeta Reddy of Apollo Hospitals, Bunty Bohra of Goldman Sachs, Sanjay Nayar of KKR, Priya Nair of Hindustan Unilever, Sanjeev Bikhchandani of Naukri.com and Sumant Sinha of ReNew Power.
The suggested action points by the CEOs could reportedly be incorporated in Niti Aayog's 15-year vision document.
The event saw participation from over 200 top CEOs and leading entrepreneurs, including Mu Sigma's Dhiraj Rajaram, MakeMyTrip's Deep Kalra, BankBazaar's Adhil Shetty and Capital Float's Sashank Rishyasringa.
All the CEOs were divided into six main groups and sub groups and the general aura was that of feeling elated at the sight of the country's top bureaucrats engaging head on with the entrepreneurs.Abhishek Sinha, CEO, Eko India Financial Services, who was part of the Fixing Finance Group, said, “The PM indicated that he may institutionalise this sort of a dialogue with entrepreneurs and have it every six months or once a year.That could be a great thing.“
Among the suggestions made by his group, top ones included making financial literacy a mission across India, digitising property titles in rural areas and how technology can aid distribution of micro financial products.
Sinha, who also volunteers for industry thinktank iSpirt said, Niti Aayog may likely take in all their suggestions and put across the same to various ministries and government departments.
“Multiple groups suggested improving the country's tourism infrastructure to create 30 to 40 million jobs in India,“ said Dev Khare, managing director at Lightspeed India Partners Advisors.“
Everyone was enthusiastic to have the government listening and taking notes.
Some of the important points put forward by fintech CEOs included the need to create 100 new “NoFrills“ banks with only license for deposit and credit, enabling complete paperless, presence-less and cashless delivery of financial products to all Indians, and active support from the government for fintech platforms engaged in financial inclusion to facilitate scaling up.