SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA SHRIMATI PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL ON THE OCCASION OF PUBLIC SECTOR DAY AND PRESENTATION OF SCOPE MERITORIOUS AWARDS TO CPSEs
New Delhi , 13th April, 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am happy to join all of you to celebrate Public Sector Day, which is also an occasion when awards are conferred on those Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) that have achieved excellence in various fields. I compliment all of them and I also congratulate the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises as well as the Standing Conference of Public Enterprises for organizing this function.
The public sector has contributed immensely to India's march forward as an economic power. Public Sector Enterprises, in the early post-independence period, were conceived as vehicles for developing sound infrastructure in the country and were deployed for self reliant economic growth in areas which required large investment and had long gestation periods. This was necessary for laying a strong foundation for our future growth.
Over the years, CPSEs have contributed to various sectors of our economy including in many critical sectors like mining, energy and steel. Even after the economic reforms of the 1990s; these enterprises have continued to operate successfully in a competitive environment. They have demonstrated their capacity to face challenges and their ability to adjust to continuously changing scenarios.
What are the yardsticks that Public Sector Enterprises should keep in mind so that they meet the expectations that the nation has of them?
Firstly, CPSEs must adhere to high standards of performance and efficiency for continued viability. The test is to be nationally creative, globally competitive and efficient, ensure on-time deliverability and provide employment. There should be a constant process of review and assessment, to ensure that best practices of corporate governance for production and management are followed, and innovative business practices are adopted. Steps taken to improve performance such as the signing of Memorandum of Understanding which has parameters such as Research and Development and Human Resources Management, ensure that management of CPSEs do not lose sight of these aspects and continue to work with proper direction and focus. I commend such steps.
Secondly, it must be remembered that growth is important, but also important is growth with social responsibility and growth that is based on ethics. I believe that the Public Sector must make these elements an essential part of the functioning of their enterprises.
Thirdly, the Public Sector has a role in the nation's inclusive growth strategy. I have, while speaking on earlier Public Sector Days, in the last two years, emphasized that industry and agriculture have linkages which need to be reinforced for having an integrated economy. Rainfed and dryland farming areas require special focus. This subject has generated interest amongst both the business community and farmers. It has been discussed in the Governor's Conference last year, and is being deliberated upon by a Sub-Committee of Governors set up to study and recommend measures for enhancing productivity, profitability, sustainability and competitiveness of rainfed areas with special reference to farmer-industry partnership. The idea is to have doable and implementable suggestions for moving forward. I am glad that under the leadership of Shri Praful Patelji, a road map has been framed with the active involvement of the Department of Public Enterprises and SCOPE, for associating CPSEs with agriculture development especially in rainfed areas. I understand that it would begin with five pilot projects located in backward districts in rainfed areas. The 20 CPSEs engaged in various agricultural and allied activities have the knowledge and experience to bring new thinking and innovative ideas to this initiative. I would urge that these projects may be undertaken with utmost urgency and a deep sense of commitment, so that through these pilot projects, valuable lessons and useful models can emerge that are farmer centric, industry driven and knowledge based, where farmers are assured that their ownership rights over land are not affected. I am confident that the consultations currently underway among various stakeholders - the Ministry of Agriculture and other concerned ministries, agricultural universities, Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium, farmer-producer organizations as well as various business chambers - will bring about the necessary convergence of efforts.
Fourthly, research and innovations must receive high priority through in-house R and D facilities, through sponsored research in collaboration with universities and R and D institutions, and through technological tie-ups with other industrial partners, particularly when there is foreign collaboration. In the contemporary knowledge based era, technological up-gradation is the propellant for moving ahead.
Fifthly, your objective should be to build the capacity and skills of our people, for which we need a system that respects the values of honesty and hardwork. The issues of human resources development need to be adequately addressed in right earnest. The management and employees of CPSEs, who have been awarded today with the SCOPE Meritorious award, deserve praise and acclaim. The award is an acknowledgement of their hardwork over the years, and should motivate them further in the coming years. I am happy to note that an award for 'Outstanding Woman Manager in CPSEs' to encourage and acknowledge the contribution of women in professional management, has been instituted. However, much more needs to be done for furthering the cause of empowerment of women and I encourage our policy makers to give due attention to this.
Government, the public sector, the private sector, educational institutions and citizens have to work together for a truly sustainable and inclusive nation. Indeed, for a rapidly growing economy like ours, both the public and private sectors must work together to meet the demand for large amounts of infrastructure investments. I encourage CPSEs to boost capital investments. They must continue to perform well in existing areas, as well as explore new markets, enter into new areas and begin new activities. In addition, the public sector alongwith the corporate sector must work to increase India's global imprint and image. Indian products should reach every nook and corner of the world and generate positive awareness about our country. Public sector units are expanding their presence overseas and helping in the creation, as also expansion of infrastructure in many countries. The importance of executing work on time and with efficiency, quality and transparency, must always be kept in mind, so that a positive impression is created about India and that lasts long after the work is over.
The suggestion for hand holding between CPSEs wherever necessary made by the Minister is good one. As we deliberate and take stock of the performance of CPSEs, we can be happy that they have met a number of challenges thrown up by the rapidly changing economic scenario. A series of events are being organized by various CPSEs all over the country for the week long Public Sector Day celebrations which commenced on 10th April 2012. I wish them all success. I congratulate all of you for organizing the third "Public Sector Day". I wish you success in every endeavour.