“India with 7 per cent growth rate is flowing against the tide despite the difficult economic environment prevailing across the world,” said Mr Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The CII hosted Mr. Gurria for an interactive session and the official signing of a MoU between the two organizations. The MoU reinforces their common commitment to promote best practices and collaboration to create a robust competitive environment for global trade, the Secretary – General observed.
The OECD, in its economic survey for India, hailed India as a top reformer, specifically noting the significance of demonetization and the imminent roll-out of the GST act. Mr Gurria commended India on maintaining high economic growth rates despite the global economic environment not being suitable to this. “India has maintained a 7 per cent growth rate, which is four times the average for any OECD country and twice the world average,” he noted.
The major challenge now is to ensure inclusive growth. He particularly stressed this as the biggest failure of globalization and the need to address this to turn back the new protectionist tide we see in the world. He identified some key areas of India-OECD collaboration, including Energy, water conservation, electrification, pollution, urban-rural inequality, and especially gender inclusion. He noted how female participation in the labour market had fallen by 10 percentage points and stated that this was a luxury India could not afford. “Dealing with only productivity and growth creates disaffection… there is a need for a nexus with inclusive growth,” he added.
CII is an active member of the Business and Industry Advisory Council (BIAC) of the OECD and the B20. He hailed this as representing the centrality of industry members to more innovation and inclusivity creating a great equalizer. It would be indispensable in addressing the backlash against the pitfalls of globalization. Quoting Prime Minister Modi, he said, “We must walk together, work together, and progress together.” This was not only to develop but also to deliver ‘better policies for better lives’ which is the OECD motto.
Mr Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Railways, Government of India, noted the possibilities for exchange of best practices in various fields. He congratulated CII and OECD for signing the MoU for greater collaborative work.
Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice President of CII, hailed the new possibilities that the MoU created for increasing India’s competitive efficiency. He added that India and OECD could collaborate for greater digital literacy. We could also adopt the OECD’s gender recommendations for education and employment. Indian industry, he said, must remain resilient in the face of any crisis. He emphasized the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility in achieving the same.
Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director-General CII, also noted that the MoU offers an opportunity for greater cooperation for the adoption of best practices and for joint study and research. OECD expertise could play a role in each of the 9 Centers of Excellence of the CII. He laid special emphasis on the possibilities of cooperation on Sustainable Development, Corporate Governance, and Green Businesses besides technological innovation. The aim was to go beyond the ‘one size fits all’ position to create better policies.