President hails GST at Trade Fair inauguration

NEW DELHI: Inaugurating the 37th India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan on Tuesday, president Ram Nath Kovind said that the introduction of GST is a milestone and that the new regime has reduced barriers between states, creating a more formal economy.

“The world has acknowledged the changed business environment in India and the strides made in ease of doing business,” said Kovind, adding that the country is recognised as a bright spot of the global economy and the world has acknowledged the change in its business environment. “Introduction of GST has been a milestone and it has broken down barriers between states. It has provided a boost to the creation of a common market and a more formal economy as well as a stronger manufacturing sector,” said Kovind while inaugurating the IITF.

Due to these efforts, he said, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country increased to USD 60 billion in 2016-17 from USD 36 billion in 2013-14.

The president also said that the focus of India’s economic reforms and policies is to eliminate poverty and enhance the prosperity of millions of ordinary families. “After all, trade must help common people. They are the ultimate stakeholders,” he added.

Listing the government initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India, Start Up India, Skill India and Smart Cities, he said that these steps are an attempt to make economic reforms more meaningful to those at the grassroots.

 GST, which subsumed more than a dozen central and state levies like excise duty, service tax and VAT, was implemented from July 1.
 About the IITF, Kovind said as many as 3,000 exhibitors including 222 foreign companies, domestic firms, public sector units and states are participating in the fair. This year, ‘Startup India Standup India’ is the theme of the fair. The ‘Partner Country’ is Vietnam and the ‘Focus Country’ is Kyrgyz Republic. These countries, the president said, are important trade and strategic partners of India.

Jharkand is the partner state at the IITF this time.

 This year at the IITF, 32 of India’s states and union territories are represented. Institutions that are present range from self-help groups to big business houses, and from small and medium manufacturing enterprises to digital start-ups. “IITF is a mini-India. It is a snapshot of the diversity and the sheer energy of this subcontinent,” said the president.
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