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Statement of India

Ministerial Segment
72nd Commission Session of the United Nations ESCAP

Item 7(a) Policy Issues for the Asia-Pacific region
"Key challenges to inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in Asia and the Pacific"

Mr. Chairman,

Mr. Chairman let me first congratulate you on your election as Chair of this session and on your effective management of the proceedings.

I take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to ESCAP. I will mention that India is privileged to host the ESCAP Sub-regional Office for South and South-West Asia and the Asian and Pacific Centre for Technology Transfer in New Delhi. I must also acknowledge that the Executive Secretary referred to working with India to strengthen APCTT. We welcome her proposal.

Mr. Chairman, India attaches the utmost importance to 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Government’s vision of "Transform India" is based on inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Our current GDP growth of 7.6% makes India the fastest growing major economy in the world. This is despite unfavourable global conditions and two years of monsoon shortfall. Our focus has been on fostering growth through prudent macroeconomic management, enhancing domestic demand and fiscal reforms that direct greater resources to States, and to those closest to the ground in order to make the most difference.

Our emphasis on the core priority of poverty eradication is continued through improvements to our basic employment guarantee programme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), that provides 100 days of essential employment. The increased delivery of public works under the programme will focus on basic rural infrastructure.

Universal access to the financial system is a key objective of the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) programme that has already provided 218 million new bank accounts.

In health, India is moving towards universal health coverage. In education, we have recently announced new programmes to improve the quality of education especially in primary education. 60 million additional people in rural areas are also expected to benefit in the next three years from the Government’s "Digital Literacy Mission Scheme".

The "Skill India" mission and the "Make in India" programme aim to increase vocational skills and productivity employment of our youthful workforce through the establishment of multi-skill training institutes.

Energy security and energy access are essential for sustainable growth and development and the achievement of the SDGs, India has established targets to lower the emissions intensity of GDP by more than one-third below 2005 levels by 2030 and to increase non-fossil fuel power generation capacity by 40%. India is also targeting a fivefold increase in production of renewable energy to 175 Gigawatts by 2022. The Government has set targets to achieve 100 per cent village electrification by mid-2018. We are also focusing on enhancing energy efficiency through adoption of LED lights through the "UJALA" programmme. For making fossil fuels less attractive, we have imposed a tax of 6 $ per ton on coal production and coal import. We are addressing the challenge of total sanitation through the Swachh Bharat mission under which 15 million toilets have been constructed in a year.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate India’s strong and unwavering commitment to South-South and regional cooperation. We look forward to working together with ESCAP member States to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Thank you.

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