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Sep 21, 2017 09:29 AM IST | Source: PTI

Make in India a powerful idea, but should focus on SMEs: Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi, who is in the US on a two-week-long tour, during his interaction with students at the prestigious Princeton University said 'Make in India' is a good idea, if implemented well, it is a very powerful idea.

Make in India a powerful idea, but should focus on SMEs: Rahul Gandhi

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today said the Modi government's 'Make in India' is a good initiative, but it should focus more on small and medium enterprises rather than on large businesses.

Gandhi, who is in the US on a two-week-long tour, during his interaction with students at the prestigious Princeton University said 'Make in India' is a good idea, if implemented well, it is a very powerful idea.

He was asked what is the one idea from the Modi government that he wishes his government has thought of.

He, however, said that it should focus more on small and medium enterprises rather than on large businesses.

"The prime minister feels the targeting of Make in India concept should be large businesses, I believe it should be small-scale businesses...small and medium companies should be turning into large companies and that’s not happening.”

"The problem is that not enough small businesses are getting access to finance system, or getting access to the legal system or getting access to the political system,” he said.

He underlined that on economic policy, broadly between the Congress and the BJP there is an agreement, but the central difference is that his party feels that India needs to carry everybody.

"Make in India is a good concept. That's a good direction. GST, is something we agree with the government...on the fine tuning slight difference,” he said.

"Also, if you look at economic policy, broadly between us and the BJP there is an agreement. There is not much difference between our economic policy and theirs other than the fact that we tend to do things like NAREGA and Right to Food. On liberalisation front, on big business front, we are similar,” Gandhi said.

"We feel it is dangerous if we don’t carry everybody," he said.

"A lot of progress has been done but a lot more needs to be done. On economic very good movement has been there but it also has resulted in inequality. This inequality is becoming a problem," he said.

When asked about his assessment of the performance of India in the last 25 years, he said, "I would say decent performance. But what we did previously is not going to work forward."

"Public school system in Kerala is very good. Public school system in Tamil Nadu, excellent, but a large number of states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are not doing their jobs in the field of education and health," he said.

When asked what he thought was the central challenge facing the country, Gandhi said it was the lack of jobs.

Globally, he said, democratic countries are struggling to create jobs.

"Democratic countries are struggling to produce jobs and that really is a problem. That's a problem in the United States. That’s a problem in India, in Europe. You can talk to any of these countries and ask them they will tell you that yes we are struggling to get blue collar jobs,” he said.

"Big countries like India, US can't afford not to have blue collar jobs. And that gap is creating the churn in the country’s political system and the anger that one sees."

In the last 25 years, Gandhi said, India had a good record on growth, but the job numbers are nowhere near where it should be.

"That is the crux. India has to figure out a way to solve this problem,” he said.

He, however, said that India despite all its challenges has done pretty well and one should be proud of its democratic accomplishments.

"Overall if you compare to the largest percentage of the world, we have done pretty well," he said.

"Between China and us, nobody has taken more people out of poverty. And frankly, look back 10,000 years, there is no democratic country that has been able to take as many people out of poverty as India. So, that’s a huge success. The scale is massive," the Congress leader said in response to a question.

"We will always have certain things not working, but certain things are working very well. I get worried when I see fundamental structural problems,” he said, adding that the main challenge is how to transform the country from a rural economy to a modern urban economy.
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