Mittal bats for overall growth, affirmative action


New Delhi : Sunil Bharti Mittal, who took over as president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Friday reiterated the need to adhere to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 10-point social charter for Indian industry, and focus on overall growth and affirmative action.

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"CII is working on seven of the 10 points directed by the prime minister yesterday (Thursday) for the Indian industry to follow. Growth is imperative, hence the government and the industry has to move in tandem with each other to meet the needs of the society," Mittal, who heads India's largest private telecom firm Airtel, told a press conference here.

"We, at CII, are committed to fulfilling targets in achieving affirmative action by the development of entrepreneurship, creating employment opportunities by offering modern and better education," he said.

He also said the industry body would work with various partners including NGOs, institutions and that set targets would be met in the current year.

Mittal, the 49-year-old first generation entrepreneur who was awarded the prestigious Padma Bhushan this year, also said CII would soon form a National Skills Development Authority, emphasising on the need to invest in the development of skilled workforce.

Underscoring the need to accentuate the agricultural sector, Mittal said: "The private sector would play an important role in improving the agricultural sector by rejuvenating its growth and raising farmers' incomes."

He said CII would adopt 300 Indian technical institutes (ITIs) and would seek the government's intervention in creating 50,000 ITIs in the 11th five-year plan.

Mittal also stressed on the need to de-regularise critical service sector verticals like financial services, retail and life sciences. He said the focus should be on deployment of third-generation telephony services and increasing broadband and Internet penetration in the country for the benefit of a larger section of the society.

Mittal, however, expressed concern over the country's infrastructural bottlenecks that are likely to hamper the growth of the economy. He urged the government to play a leading role in basic infrastructure projects and incentivise investment in the sector through fiscal support, tax concessions and enhanced credit guarantee.