Odisha Economic Conference: Principal Secretary to PM addresses

Odisha Economic Association

Odisha Economic Conference: Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Shri P K Mishra today addressed the 56th Annual Conference of Odisha Economic Association, at Sambalpur, Odisha. The Principal Secretary highlighted the significance of the theme of the conference ‘Pathways for Sustainable Growth in an Uncertain World’ citing unprecedented turbulence and uncertainty in the global economy in recent years.

Stressing on India’s journey to become a developed nation by the year 2047, Dr  Mishra underlined the significance of attaining sustainable growth while achieving high growth trajectory, and said, “High growth that is not sustainable will not be meaningful.”

The Principal Secretary said that in the recent times the shift in global supply chains, challenges from artificial intelligence in services trade and employment, and the challenge of energy transition in the context of reducing carbon emissions are the three significant trends globally. He then highlighted a few issues for economic research for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Shri Mishra explained the difference between economic development and economic growth and further emphasised that ‘Sustainable’ economic development involves achieving economic growth while addressing environmental concerns, social equity, and long-term stability. “Sustainable growth considers economic, social and environmental interdependence with a view to creating a balanced and resilient development model”, he added.

The Principal Secretary discussed the origin of the idea of sustainability at the United Nations Conference on Human Environment in 1972 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the form of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 targets to address global challenges. He said that the universal principle of ‘leave no one behind’ is central to the Global Agenda for 2030.

Reiterating the Prime Minister’s Vision of India 2047, Shri Mishra said that India should go beyond achieving the desired level of per capita income and be atmanirbhar in all aspects.  He added that women will be leading India’s development story, the economy will be more inclusive and innovative and corruption, casteism and communalism will have no place in our national life.

Shri Mishra gave an overview of India’s efforts to achieve the SDGs in view of its efforts to become a developed country in the year when the country completes 100 years of its independence. He then analyzed some conceptual aspects of risk and uncertainty that did not exist when the SDGs were articulated, followed by bringing out some issues for economic research.

The Principal Secretary underlined the Government of India efforts in the last 10 years to achieve sustainable development. He said that the G20 Presidency led by India was recognized globally for its unprecedented scale and success, emphasizing the adoption of new concepts for a sustainable and better future. The concept of LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) and global initiatives such as Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and International Solar Alliance (ISA) are significant landmarks in India’s efforts to address climate change, he added.

Shri Mishra reiterated India’s vision for Amrit Kaal that includes sustainable development and reducing inequality by 2047. He underlined India’s efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic that chose the path of reforms. He hailed second generation reforms such as implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2017 and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), introduction of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority bringing transparency and accountability among others that required significant investment of political capital than just opening up of the economy.

While emphasising on government’s focus on infrastructure as a critical aspect of sustainable development, the Principal Secretary highlighted the initiatives such as the PM Gatishakti and National Logistics Policy that enabled seamless multi-modal connectivity. He also said that we helped our companies integrate into the global value chain, lowered the direct tax rate, liberalised FDI norms, introduced production linked incentive (PLI) schemes to incentivise investment to make India a global manufacturing hub.

The Principal Secretary to the PM discussed the key elements of India’s climate action policy as indicated in the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and highlighted other initiatives for environmental sustainability including National Green Hydrogen Mission, Ujala-LED campaign and FAME India, Waste to Wealth schemes, Nano-Urea and Nano-DAP among others.

Shri Mishra lauded several initiatives undertaken by government to develop human capital for faster, inclusive and more equitable growth including National Education Policy 2020, Diksha and PM e-Vidya Platforms, PM Awaas Yojana, Jal Jeevan Mission, Ayushman Bharat Programme, Ujjwala Yojana, PM SVANIDHI scheme, PM Vishwakarma Scheme among others, underlining the role of social inclusion in sustainable development.

The Principal Secretary highlighted the role MSME’s can play in providing employment in manufacturing and services sector and thereby maximise India’s demographic dividend. He also mentioned the measures undertaken by government such as Startup India Initiative, creation of separate Ministry for Skill Development and a Capacity Building Commission among others for skill upgradation and increased participation of women in the work force

While discussing government’s focus on use of technology in improving governance and promoting innovation, Shri Mishra said that the initiatives such as the JAM trinity and Unified Payments Interface have fundamentally changed not only the delivery of benefits directly to the citizens but also in their financial inclusion and empowerment.

The Principal Secretary discussed at length the conceptual aspects of risk and uncertainty. He made references from his book Agricultural Risk, Insurance and Income and Michael Lipton’s seminal paper, ‘The Theory of the Optimising Peasant’. He further explained how microeconomics concepts are relevant in macroeconomics giving example of Covid-19 pandemic and added that “we need to bridge the gap between traditional disaster risk management and risk management in an uncertain environment that also applies to our strategy for sustainable economic growth.”

In line with Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s concept of Antifragility, Dr Mishra suggested five pillars in the Indian context to become anti-fragile country that included Community-level Initiatives, Resilient Infrastructure, Robust Financial System, Social Protection, Sustainable Natural Resource Management.