23rd IITF Opens; Kalam Says Competitiveness Holds Key

New Delhi, Nov 14: | Updated: Nov 15 2003, 05:30am hrs
President APJ Abdul Kalam has said that competitiveness is vital to transform India into a developed nation by 2020. Competitiveness was one factor which connected the developing country and developed country since both marketed their products in a competitive way, he said while inaugurating the 23rd edition of India International Trade Fair here on Friday.

Terming this dynamics of competitiveness in marketing of products as the law of development, Dr Kalam said that Indian industry should strive hard to achieve a competitive edge in the global market.

Commerce and industry minister Arun Jaitley, minister of state for commerce and industry SB Mookherjee, commerce secretary Dipak Chatterjee and Ashok Jha, chairman of Indian Trade Promotion Organisation were present on the occasion along with senior officials, diplomats and others concerned. This years fair has a marked focus on its theme: Tourism and Promoting Exports of Small and Medium Enterprises.

Dr Kalam pointed out five areas based on Indias core competence for integrated action to double the GDP growth and realise the vision of developed India. They are agriculture and food processing, infrastructure, education and heathcare, information and communication technology and crucial technologies and strategic industries. He said this years theme could be derived from these five areas which are closely inter-related.

The President indicated that tourism had a great potential and said that a constructive partnership between the private and public sector had to be established to achieve growth in this sector.

Thrust was required to be given for inland water navigation, hotels, communication, entertainment and tourism promotion and there was need to start a welcome tourism movement, he added.

Emphasising the importance of the small scale sector in the export performance, he highlighted the fact that direct exports from the sector accounted for 35 per cent of total exports. To enhance these exports from the SSI sector, the strategy had to be based on technology upgradation, value addition, credit support and export marketing zones, he said.

Mr Jaitley highighted the fact that exports were doing well despite the hardening of the rupee and global slowdown and stressed that export growth this year was on a double digit growth track.

Given the large coastline, different religions, diversity in culture and nature, India has a huge potential in the tourism sector and said that the SSI sector is one of the largest employment generating sectors in the country.