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India growth story to pick up speed with development of NE: PM
 
Guwahati, Feb 3 (PTI) Highlighting "path breaking" economic reforms undertaken by his government, Prime Minister?Narendra Modi on Saturday?said India's growth story will further pick up speed when there is an all-round development of the Northeast

Inaugurating the two-day 'Global Investors Summit' hosted by Assam, he stressed on the importance of 'Act East Policy' in the Centre's aim of achieving balanced and fast-paced growth of the Northeastern region

"We have created the Act East Policy and the Northeast is at the heart of it

"The Act East Policy requires increased people to people contact, trade ties and other relations with countries on India's east, particularly ASEAN countries," he said

The prime minister said due to economic reforms, India is today the most preferred investment destination in the world with the highest FDI in last fiscal at USD 60 billion, and highlighted the country's improved credit rating, low inflation rate and opening of various sectors to foreign direct investment

"The world sees India today as an emerging power house for economic growth," he said

Modi said his government has changed the work culture of the official machinery, giving it greater speed, and "we want all projects to be completed before target"

Pointing to initiatives announced in the Budget on health insurance and free cooking gas connection for the poor and transparency in tax regime, he said all the schemes of the Union government are oriented towards bringing about a qualitative change in the lives of the people

The aim is to improve "ease of living", the prime minister said

The Union government has taken up many path breaking economic reforms in last three years, which have simplified procedures?for doing business, he said

It is a result of these reforms that India today ranks 100 among 190 countries in the Doing Business Report, of the World Bank, after climbing up 42 ranks, Modi said

India's position has improved in many other ratings like Global Competitiveness Index of World Economic Forum and Moody?s rating upgrade from stable to positive in November 2017

"Our policies have ensured that inflation remains below 5 per cent mark. Now, we have foreign exchange reserves of USD 418 billion

"Many new sectors have been opened for 100 per cent FDI through automatic route like automobiles,?textiles, tourism, ports and highways

"Today, India is one of the most preferred destinations for FDI. India has received highest ever annual FDI of USD 60 billion in 2016-17," he said

Talking about the recent announcements in the budget, he said 45-50 crore people will benefit from the health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat and it has enhanced the possibilities of setting up hospitals in tier II and III cities by hospital chains

Modi said the government's current focus is on infrastructure investment and next year it will be investing about Rs 6 lakh crore in this sector

"This year we aim to complete more than 9,000 kilometres length of National Highways. We will?be developing 35,000 kilometers of roads with investment of Rs 5.35 lakh crore under ?Bharatmala? project," he said, adding the Railways will make an investment of Rs 1.48 lakh crore in 2018-19

? Assam is hosting its first global investors summit?to showcase its manufacturing opportunities and geostrategic advantages to foreign and domestic investors

The summit aims at highlighting Assam's core competencies in different sectors along with the policy initiatives taken by the state government

The prime minister said the tagline of the summit 'Advantage Assam: India's Express way to ASEAN' is not just a statement but is a comprehensive vision

India's growth story will further pick up speed only when there is an all-round development of the Northeast and its people, he said

Modi said development of MSME sector is a priority for the government as this is the back-bone of country's industries

"In this year?s budget, we are giving a big relief to MSMEs by reducing rate of income tax to 25 per cent on companies reporting a turn-over of up to Rs. 250 crore

"This will benefit almost 99 per cent of companies, he said

Modi said the 2018-19 budget has provided additional deduction to the employees of 30 per cent of the wages paid?for new employees under the Income Tax Act

"We are also rolling out e-assessment of income tax across the country to eliminate corruption and bring efficiency and transparency, he said

Further, the women employees? contribution to EPF will be 8 per cent for first three years against existing rate of 12 per cent

The prime minister said he was happy to note that Assam is ranked first among the Northeastern states in the Ease of Doing Business report

"I am sure that with the present leadership of the state government,?Assam is going to further improve its current position to emerge as one of the most sought-after states for industrial investment in the country," he said

Those present at the event included Bhutanese PM Tshering Tobgay, several Union ministers, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, chief ministers of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, ambassadors and high commissioners of 16 countries, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani,?Tata Sons?chairman N Chandrasekharan besides other.


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