NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met young CEOs of the country at an event organised by government’s think tank NITI Aayog and encouraged them to become soldiers of development, help India cut dependence on imports and ensure that India becomes a ‘less-cash’ economy. For this, the PM asked the CEOs to encourage the use of BHIM app for cashless transactions and ensure by 2022 that employees working for them go cashless.
Addressing over 200 CEOs, Modi exhorted young entrepreneurs to work towards increasing agricultural exports and promoting tourism. Referring to Mahatma Gandhi, Modi said that while there was never a dearth of people who wanted to sacrifice their lives for India's Independence, Gandhiji made every person feel that she/he is working for the nation and turned the freedom struggle into a mass movement. “Gandhiji made Independence a mass movement. Every government has tried to take India forward. But development has not become a mass movement. In the same spirit as what Mahatma Gandhi did for the freedom struggle, we need to make India's development a mass movement," he said.
Six groups of young corporate leaders made presentations before the PM on themes such as Make in India; Doubling Farmers’ Income; World Class Infrastructure; Cities of Tomorrow; Reforming the Financial Sector; and New India by 2022. Modi thanked the CEOs for their inputs and asked them to continue providing provide policy inputs and be the harbinger of change.
Speaking at ‘Champions of Change’, Modi emphasized on nation building and said that by working together “we can solve several problems the country faces”. Emphasizing on promoting tourism in the country and talking of enormous potential in job creations, Modi asked the CEOs to distribute Khadi coupons as Diwali gifts. Stating that there was need to increase a sense of belonging among Indian citizens, he said, “We Indians don’t take pride in our rich heritage. If we begin talking about it with pride, the world will desperate to visit India.” The PM elaborated that he was looking at end-to-end solutions for India. “If this generation thinks of feasible solutions to our unique problems, markets and jobs will automatically be created," he added.
Modi also mentioned some of his government’s initiatives in his address such as he spoke of GeM (Government-e-Market) portal which was introduced recently to increase transparency in government purchases. He said that even small suppliers can sell their products to the government through the portal and pointed out that as many as 28,000 small suppliers have sold their products to government worth Rs 1,000 crore through the portal in the last 4-6 months.
The Prime Minister stressed on the need to focus on export oriented agriculture products, saying that innovative ideas like cultivating timber on fringes of farm land would help achieve the goal of doubling farmers' income. He regretted that around Rs 1 lakh crore of agriculture products - from fruits to vegetables - go waste because of lack of infrastructure. Creating infrastructure in itself is a business opportunity, the Prime Minister said.