Improve infrastructure for inclusive growth: PHDCCI

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New Delhi, Jan 24 (UNI) In order to achieve and sustain the double digit economic growth during the next five years, industry body PHDCCI today urged the government to focus on sectors such as agriculture, tourism and infrastructure.

PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which represents 10 northern states along with Chandigarh, has also called for streamlining the taxes, upgradation of non-metro international airports into world class airports and easing of entry conditions for private airlines starting international flights.

''To achieve 9-10 per cent economic growth, the manufacturing sector has to grow at an average rate of 12 per cent for the next 4-5 years. The segments that can lift the industrial growth are food processing, tourism and infrastructure,'' chamber's newly elected President L K Malhotra told reporters here.

Agriculture is the most neglected sector, as 40 per cent of the country's food production goes waste because of lack of proper processing facilities along with infrastrucure glitches like packaging, cold chain, and refrigerator, he said.

Dr Malhotra advocated a three-pronged strategy for food processing--land ceiling laws, encouraging contract farming and effecting a review of laws relating to cooperatives to provide an impetus to this sector.

He also underlined that the country's farmers cultivate only the traditional crops and have not ventured into other crops, thereby not getting proper incentives.

Commenting on the tourism industry, he said it is one of the largest service providers and creates more jobs than any other sector.

Extending the argument in favour of inclusive growth, the chamber president said timely implementation of these projects would result in the generation of million of jobs across the country, particularly in the northern region.

He added that the capital assets generated by undertaking these projects would help in distributing more over Rs 12,000 crore worth of jobs annually to the unemployed within the system through the Employment Guarantee Scheme.

The extension of technology upgradation fund scheme to the entire small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which contributes about 40 per cent of total production, creation of a separate stock exchange, enhancing credit flow and credit delivery and provision of quality infrastructure in terms of power, water, roads, ports, airports, etc for SMEs to stay ahead in the era of globalisation were some other suggestions given by Dr Malhotra.

UNI SBA SR KP1705

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