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AHMEDABAD: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said the Centre has tailored policies to make India an attractive destination for manufacturing and services, and the aim was to produce not just for the domestic market but for exports as well. She was responding to a query on American tech billionaire Elon Musk postponing his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Policies have been made to attract investments. We want manufacturers and investors to come and produce not just for India but also for exports. We will try to attract manufacturers and investors through policies,” she told reporters.

Tesla CEO Musk on Saturday said his visit to India has been delayed due to the company’s heavy obligations.

“When big companies show interest to come to India, we will do everything to make it attractive for them to come and invest. In that process, if there is anything to discuss, we will certainly discuss. But whatever we have done, we have done it through policy,” Sitharaman added.

Asserting the Union government’s approach has helped especially after China plus one started being a concern for many industry experts, she said policies have been tailored in such a way so as to make India an attractive destination for manufacturing and for services.

Speaking about inflation, she said it never crossed the tolerance band, except for one month, under the Narendra Modi government, whereas before that (pre-2014) the economy was in a bad shape and inflation was in double digits. “At that time (pre 2014) nobody had any expectations from the country. After much hard work, we have emerged as the world’s fifth largest economy and are confidently saying we will be third in the next two to two-and-half years,” the Union minister said.

On employment, Sitharaman said there was lack of complete data from both the formal and informal sectors, but asserted initiatives of the Centre have ensured jobs to lakhs. “The data is inadequate. I am not saying this pride but while accepting its weakness. All I can say regarding employment is that the money given to people and startups through different schemes…people in crores have availed support. Between October 2022 and November 2023, through the Rozgar Mela, Modi has given government jobs to 10 lakh people,” she said.

When asked about the rule that requires larger companies to pay Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) within 45 days of receiving goods or services, Sitharaman said the law has been existence since 2007-08 and is not new. “Later MSMEs themselves came and said the 45-day payment is not happening within that financial year. But within that financial year, this amount is shown as expenditure and to that extent tax is not being paid. All that we have done through the Finance Act that was passed in Parliament on February 1, 2023,” she said. “We just said tax treatment remains the same. Make a claim in the year you pay to the MSMEs. How can you claim when you have not made payment?” she asked.

Queried about the Indian rupee weakening against the US dollar, she said the fluctuation was due to global uncertainty, wars as well as uncertainty in supply of crude oil from the Middle East.

Earlier, addressing industry leaders from Gujarat on ‘Viksit Bharat -2047’, she said 28 per cent of total capital under Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme has come to the state, which has shown remarkable alertness in the last 10-12 years. So semiconductor manufacturing for India comes first in Gujarat, which has a policy as well as government and ecosystem ready for manufacturing for Viksit Bharat 2047, she said.

“The IFSC at GIFT City in Gandhinagar is a big gateway for services to grow in Gujarat. A world-class financial services centre very close to Ahmedabad is just the key for India to reach that kind of global market for attracting more investment and more financial operations,” Sitharaman said. She also said Gujarat was at third position in attracting FDI in manufacturing.

  • Published On Apr 21, 2024 at 01:25 PM IST

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