Government focusing on manufacturing, services to create jobs: Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi: Government is focusing both on manufacturing and services sectors to generate jobs and boost economic growth, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said. “It is a two-pronged strategy. We are looking at both services and manufacturing. There is a strategy for both manufacturing and services,” the minister said at ET Now’s India Economic Conclave (IEC) here. She said the government is also focusing on imparting skill sets required for both sectors.

The government is investing big time in skill development and also looking at ways to widen the base of manufacturing to increase its contribution in GDP to 25 per cent in coming years from the current 13-14 per cent, Sitharaman added. “I do not think that we are over-emphasising on manufacturing, but we need that base to get going with the absorption (of workforce) at a level which we need,” she made it clear, adding “we are focusing on manufacturing so that large absorption of labour force can be brought in”. She added that the commerce ministry is also putting right emphasis on the services sector, which contributes over 50 per cent to GDP. India is progressively moving towards services-dominant economy and the government is widening the base of that, Sitharaman said.

To a query about growing protectionism and putting across India’s cause to open up the economies, she acknowledged that it will be a challenge, but there is also a receptiveness to the fact that the service sector can only be serviced by countries like India. “There is a clear understanding that without India and its services sector, many of the developed economies can not move,” the minister added. India is discussing with all countries to ease the process of movement of professionals.

“I hope to have some success on that,” she said. Speaking at the event, Power Minister Piyush Goyal lauded the demonetisation move of the government. “You found people waiting patiently for their turn in queues, even going back home without their turn coming but repeatedly saying despite media provocation that ‘yes, there is inconvenience, but we are happy with what this government has done’,” he said. “That is the change of mindset in India. Indian psyche is today ready to support bold reforms and take a little inconvenience if it is for wider national good,” he added. He said the war against counterfeit notes which used to support and on which drug money or terrorism used to survive has also been won by India.