East Asia now a tough challenger: Pranab

East Asia now a tough challenger: Pranab

VTU convocation: Shimoga girl bags 11 gold medals

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said the manufacturing sector in India has witnessed slow progress and is facing a stiff competition from East Asian countries.

He was speaking after receiving the honorary doctorate at the 11th convocation of Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU).

The national manufacturing policy was expected to boost the share of the sector to 25 per cent in the GDP and its impact would be clearly discernible in the next two decades, Mukherjee said.

However, he painted a rosy picture of Indian economy, stating that the country was among the first to recover from the global economic meltdown.

He said crisis in the European market and twin disasters – tsunami and nuclear leakage – in  Japan have not affected the resilient Indian economy. The gross domestic product (GDP), which came down to 8.4 per cent last fiscal, has recovered rapidly. It will bounce back to a double digit growth this year, he said.

“Physical infrastructure in the country is under stress and needs enormous investment,” he said. The government has decided to spend Rs 50 lakh crore in the next five years on upgrading infrastructure, he said. 

Stressing the need for quality infrastructure, the minister said technical skills too were in demand for road, railway, power, technical and other sectors. Infrastructure development has been stressed in the 12th Five Year Plan which provides for both from domestic and offshore investment, he said.

 “I’m elated to see fresh and youthful faces eager to take on the technology challenges. I feel future of India will be in able and skilled hands. India boasts of the youngest workforce amongst the large economies. However, we need to convert this demographic advantage into a permanent driver of economic growth through a sustained effort of nurturing it and endowing it with the skills of international standards,” he said.

“The government has earmarked the resources required for the National Skill Development Fund. We are enabling National Skill Development Corporation to fund more skill upgradation projects in different sectors in more districts of India,” he said.

Mukherjee was presented with the honorary degree of Doctor of Science by Governor and Chancellor H R Bhardwaj  on the occasion.

The honorary degrees were conferred on Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairperson of the Aditya Birla Group, S S Mantha, chairperson of AICTE, H C Visvesvaraya, former vice-chancellor of Roorkee University, and on late M S Ramaiah, posthumously.

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