India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made an emphatic call for states to double down on imports and exports. He urged states to identify opportunities and advised the citizens to choose locally made goods over their foreign counterparts. His remarks are timely, especially given the country’s burgeoning trade deficit. Even though GST collections have increased in the last couple of months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thinks the country has the potential to level this further up.
Meanwhile, India’s current merchandise trade deficit reached a staggering $31 billion in July. This has stretched the difference between exports and imports to around $100 billion, a significant difference from the $42 billion it used to be a year ago.
According to a statement from the PM, “states should encourage citizens to use local goods and vocal for local shouldn’t be an agenda echoed by one political party, but should be a common goal of every Indian.” He further called for every state to focus on promoting trade, tourism, and technology in collaboration with Indian missions abroad.
Modi stressed that his government is focused on modern agriculture, food processing, and animal husbandry, a move he believes will bring self-sufficiency while establishing the country as a leader in the agriculture sector. He also called on states to take actions that will make the country self-sufficient, especially in the area of edible oil production, stating categorically that the country is the largest importer of edible oil.
While the central government is working on reducing edible oil import by half in the coming years, states have called for an increase in the minimum support prices for oil seeds, adding that such a move will promote cultivation.
The state of GST
After his encouraging speech on prioritizing exports over imports and the need for the citizens to patronize locally made goods, the PM has also shed some light on GST. According to Modi, GST can yield more after last month’s collection came in at Rs 1.49 lakh crore. He stressed that increasing GST collection requires support from all parties involved, making it clear that GST collection has the potential to strengthen the economy as it strives toward becoming a $5 trillion economy.