India has not signed RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) as it is not in India’s national interest. The Government wants to transform India into a self-sufficient and resilient economy and not a protector of inefficient industries, said Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance. An Atma Nirbhar Bharat does not seek import substitution. In fact, it wants to be a part of global supply chains. An Atma Nirbhar Bharat will be flexible and resilient, he said while addressing the 119th General Body meeting of Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI) as the Guest of Honour held through Webinar. Most businesses closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic are open. Stimulus measures are coming in tranches and more would be in the pipeline, Sanyal added. When the lockdown first broke out, the Government had difficulty responding to complete uncertainty. During the pandemic, the Government kept the system alive, so that it could re-inflate it later. It has provided economic stimulus in the last three months. Unlike many other countries, India did not splurge on a big package. Also, it did not press the accelerator and the brakes at the same time during the pandemic. Consequently, it now enjoys both monetary and fiscal space and India is currently in a good position to press the accelerator. The Government will support demand over a period of time. Unlike certain other countries, India has adopted supply side measures such as new labour laws. India should not only be the back office of the world, it can also be the front office of the world. In this regard, the Government will ease regulations wherever possible. Vivek Gupta, President, MCCI, appreciated the government’s efforts for helping the pandemic impacted industries and businesses. The Indian Government has effectively responded to the pandemic and it has not caused undue panic. Vivek Gupta urged everyone to take up leadership roles in public institutions. There were two phases in his Presidency – pre-Coronavirus and post-Coronavirus. The past year has been a vibrant year for the Chamber and many dignitaries from different walks of life attended its webinars. It was a rewarding experience to be President and he wished the incoming team success, Vivek Gupta said. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Steel, Petroleum & Natural Gas, who was the Chief Guest, said there are indications of improvement in the domestic economy. Atma Nirbhar has provided relief to all segments of society. Atma Nirbhar Bharat seeks to transform India from a passive market to a manufacturing hub. India’s stable democracy and favourable demographics support growth. The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana was a major driver in social welfare during the pandemic times. An Atma Nirbhar Bharat is not possible without Eastern India. It stands for a strong and self-reliant country which will be a demand multiplier for the global economy. India seeks cooperation and peace. The Government has initiated reforms in the energy sector. It is trying to ensure energy security to mitigate uncertainty. The seven pillars of India’s energy policy include moving to a gas-based economy, ushering renewable energy targets and moving towards new forms of energy. In future, the use of compressed bio gas will reduce use of imported petroleum. The Government will spend USD 100 billion on oil and gas infrastructure, Dharmendra Pradhan added.