May 2023 \ Business & Investment \ BUSINESS AND GOVERNANCE

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in early May said that infrastructure, investment, innovation and inclusivity, are essential for long-term sustainable growth for both advanced and developing economies.

She said this while participating in the ‘Governors’ Seminar: Policies to Support Asia’s Rebound’, which was held as part of the 56th Asian Development Bank annual meeting in Incheon, South Korea. Sitharaman stated that protection of vulnerable sections has been India’s prime focus as the government has charted its course towards recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Finance Minister further highlighted that India’s focus on MSMEs and ensuring food security has been instrumental in the Indian economy’s successful recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Sitharaman espoused the idea of democratisation of enterprise and underlined the need for entrepreneurial skills to be a lot more widespread and democratised within the country so that no one misses out on the skill sets.

In the context of food security, she raised concerns over the disparity in treatment of emerging markets vis-a-vis developed countries as the WTO regime trade agreements have tended to be lopsided.

The finance minister also called for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to renew its focus on trade in agricultural products, recognising that subsidies will be essential for developing economies as they attempt to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

During the seminar, she also highlighted India’s systemic reforms facilitated by digital public infrastructure, enabling timely conditional cash transfers when it was most needed. Sitharaman emphasised that India’s focus on capital expenditure will not only benefit the semi-skilled population, but also help explore key sectors beyond agriculture, manufacturing and services.

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