Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate and address the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) next month, the industry body said.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime would get special focus at the meeting, it added.
“The 90th AGM of FICCI will be held on December 13-14, 2017, in New Delhi…[and] will be inaugurated by Shri Narendra Modi, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India,” FICCI said in a statement.
“FICCI is planning different sessions with key Cabinet Ministers, captains of industry and Opposition members. Finance Ministers from a few States are also expected in a special session on GST.”
The FICCI event assumes significance as it would be the first time that Mr. Modi — as the Prime Minister — would be addressing a meeting organised by an industry body in India since he assumed office in 2014. It also comes at a time when private investment continues to remain sluggish, and the government is keen on encouraging a reversal of the trend with a view to help generate more employment and spur economic growth.
The ‘hurried implementation’ of the new indirect tax regime has drawn criticism from industry, especially companies in the small and medium sector. It has also been criticised by Opposition parties.
The GST Council subsequently pared the tax rate on 178 items, leaving only 50 items in the highest rate slab of 28%. There is also a proposal to ensure fewer GST slabs, including by collapsing the 12% and 18% rate slabs into one rate.
FICCI sources told The Hindu that the industry body had been trying “very hard”, but without success, to have Mr. Modi inaugurate and address the FICCI AGM ever since he became Prime Minister in 2014.
“FICCI recently got official confirmation that the Prime Minister will be attending its AGM this year,” a FICCI source, who did not wish to be identified, said.
However, on his travels overseas, Mr. Modi has addressed business groups, including a luncheon organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) last November in Tokyo.
He has also attended a luncheon hosted by Nippon Keidanren, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Japan-India Business Cooperation Committee during an earlier visit to Japan in September 2014.