Friday, June 08, 2018

We want India to be an airplane manufacturing hub: Suresh Prabhu

Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, during an exclusive interview with Zee Business, said that the launch of Udan scheme and other works in the aviation sector in four years is historic in itself. He talked about that how the Modi government have plans to make the nation a manufacturing hib for planes and drones during the fifth year of the Modi government.

Below are the edited excerpts of the interview:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA government has completed four years in power. On this occasion, tell us about four major achievements that you achieved under your respective portfolios.

Firstly, I would like to inform about my work as a Railway Minister, the portfolio with which I was associated for the longest time of three-years in these four years.

Railway was facing an acute shortage of investment when I took its charge. And this shortage was leading to non-fulfilment of several essential services like the renewal of the tracks or availability of escalators at the stations among others.

So, keeping all these things in mind, we announced railway budget of Rs 8 lakh 54 thousand crores. It was a historic budget in itself. The first tranche of this budget, which was of Rs 1 lakh 50,000 crores, was borrowed from Life Insurance Corporation (LIC). This tranche helped us in sanctioning the plan of doubling and tripling of 20,000-kilometre tracks, electrification of 85 per cent of railway lines, availability of wi-fi services at stations, e-catering facility, and cleanliness in the trains and at the stations. We were able to provide trains like Antyogday and Tejas expresses to people. Apart from this, we also created a plan to save Rs 41,000 crore in 10 years through electrification. In addition, we also issued 85 per cent tenders of the Rs 85,000 crore project within 1 or 1.5 years. Same goes for safety, which has decreased year-on-year and we hope that we will be able to reduce it this year too.

When it comes to Aviation, the field for which I am responsible, right now. I feel, the kind of work that we have done in the aviation sector in these four years is historic in itself. Today, we have plans to open 56 new airports with an aim to provide air travel facilities to people in almost every region of the country. Undoubtedly, the creation of these airports will increase air traffic and call for more planes. To meet the same demand, we have planned to make it in India under Make in India.

As a commerce minister, I would like to inform you that in one year (FY 2017-18) our export registered was the biggest export in last six years. And this year, we have plans to increase it than last year and for that purpose, we had a meeting with all line ministers and created DGFT. 

In addition, you would have seen the latest RBI data that says that the industrial sector of the country has seen a leap growth in past 6-8 months. In its yesterday's presentation, RBI retained growth projections for the current fiscal at 7.4 per cent on hopes to further boost to investments and higher consumption. For that purpose, we are going to bring a new industrial policy, which will be approved soon by the cabinet. Our ranks in Ease to doing Business, which came down from 144 to 100 is a commendable achievement. Now, we are trying to take the rankings below 50.

Besides, to increase the GDP of the nation, we have devised a concept of District Layer Growth, under which we will try to develop every district of the country.
07/06/18 Anil Singhvi/DNA