India, driven by a new industrial policy to be rolled out soon, will be the next engine of growth for the world, union minister Suresh Prabhu told the Indian diaspora in South Africa.
Commerce and industry minister Prabhu was leading a high-level business delegation to Johannesburg to participate in the two-day India-South Africa Business Summit 2018 which began on 29 April.
Sharing some details of the new industrial development policy that will be released soon, Prabhu said there would be a shift from the first policy of 1956 which promoted industrialisation and that of 1992 which was driven by compulsion as India faced a severe economic crisis.
According to the minister, the new policy would consist of three main elements -- modernising existing industries, bringing new industries into place, and increasing startups. Prabhu acknowledged China's economic growth on the global stage as being "unparalleled" and attributed its rise to investment by the Chinese government.
"But India's success and growth story is driven by Indians. The private sector in India has contributed significantly to this," he said. The union minister sought to project that 2019 would be better for India than this year. "I can say with confidence that 2018 will be better than 2017 and 2019 will be better than 2018, and I am not saying that as an astrologer-it is purely based on real, legitimate growth numbers of India," Prabhu said.
He said the country would be closer to "our desired aim of being a double-digit economy" by 2020, and exuded confidence that India will become the world's third-largest economy by 2032, next only to the US and China. "By 2025 India will be a five-trillion-dollar economy and 10 trillion with another seven years' journey and India will then be world's third largest economy in the world," Prabhu said.
Citing reasons for the upward growth trajectory of India, Prabhu said in any country, the political system is very important for such accomplishments. "Thanks to the people of India, who gave a mandate four years ago to Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi that changed the entire dynamics, because now we are not just focusing on numbers of growth, but the quality of long-term sustainable growth," he said.
Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won an absolute majority in the 2014 general elections with 282 seats in the 545-member Lok Sabha-a first by a political party after 30 years. "We are focusing on futuristic industries which will drive the growth of the world, not the industries of today, which will be facing the challenge of obsolescence all over the world," Prabhu said.
He said the government has identified 12 sectors and already set aside almost a billion dollars approved by the cabinet for them. "These 12 sectors will create jobs and drive the economy, but also promote exports because services exports will be higher than material exports of production," Prabhu said.
Easing up Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) processes, bringing in more Indian cultural groups via the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, violence in Kashmir were among the key issues that the Indian community raised with Prabhu.