Our Growth Engines Are Our Vulnerable Zones: PM Modi Addresses NEF

PM Modi gave the opening address at the annual Bloomberg New Economy Forum on Tuesday, 17 November.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered the opening address on Tuesday, 17 November, the second day of the third annual Bloomberg New Economy Forum.

Speaking on the rise of Indian urban cities as centres for global investment, global innovation and global sustainable development, he started a dialogue to discuss the future of cities in a post-coronavirus world.

Our Growth Engines as Our Most Vulnerable Zones

Modi said that one of the things that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted is that cities that were previously just “our growth engines” are now also our most “vulnerable zones”.

“The very things that defined living in cities are now facing a question mark – things like community gatherings, sports gatherings, education and recreations.”
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

He went on to say that, as many cities “declare themselves on the brink of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression,” the most imminent question to arise would be this, “how to restart?”

PM Modi urged world leaders to look at the pandemic as an opportunity to “develop new protocols”, and mentioned that a good starting point would be “the rejuvenation of urban centres.”

‘It’s Time We Make Cities Work for People’

The PM also emphasised that people are a key and fundamental resource of any society, and thus need cities that aid their growth.

“Cities are vibrant engines of growth. They hold the power to drive the much needed change. People migrate because new cities give them work, but it’s time that we makes cities work for the people,” he added.

He further said, “In today's age, empowering people to work from anywhere, to live anywhere, to plug into global supply chains from anywhere is an absolute necessity. That is why we've announced simplified guidelines for technology and knowledge-enabled service sector.”

Speaking on the need for affordable housing, he said, “looking at conditions created by the pandemic, we introduced an affordable rental housing initiative. We created the Real Estate Regulation Act. This has transformed the dynamics of the real estate sector. Also, this has made it more customer-oriented and transparent.”

PM Modi also talked of sustainable mobility, saying it is the “key to creating resilient cities.”
“Our ‘Make In India’ push had led to development of tremendous indigenous capacity for production of transportation systems. It is going to help us push our sustainable transport goals in a big way,” he added.

The address observed that Indian cities continue to rely heavily on technology, and will continue to do so.

Noting this, PM Modi said that “our cities need to be ready for the convergence of physical and digital worlds.”

He added that government initiatives like Digital India and Start-Up India Missions helped create capacities towards this.

The address ended with Prime Minister Modi branding Indian urban centres as nuclei of opportunities.

“If you're looking to invest in urbanisation, India has exciting opportunities for you. If you're looking to invest in mobility, India has exciting opportunities for you. If you're looking to invest in innovation, India has exciting opportunities for you.”

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