New Delhi– Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called for India to more than double its share in global exports from the current 1.6 per cent to 3.4 per cent.

Speaking after laying the foundation stone of Vanijya Bhawan, a new office complex for the Department of Commerce, here, he said the Department must resolve to raise India’s share in total global exports to at least 3.4 per cent and the states must be made active partners in the effort, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

Besides, efforts must be made to raise domestic manufacturing output to reduce imports, said Modi, citing the example of electronics manufacturing. He also said that the Union government has taken a number of steps to boost domestic manufacturing.

Listing various macro-economic parameters and other indicators to explain how India is playing an important role in the global economy, Modi said the country is now among the top five fin-tech countries globally.

He said the government has made great progress in making the country investment-friendly. Subjects such as “Ease of Trading” and “Ease of Doing Business” are all related to “Ease of Living” in an interconnected world, he said.

Noting that the building will be completed before December 2019, he hoped the new office, which will be a completely networked and paperless and equipped with smart access control, will further facilitate elimination of silos in India’s commerce sector.

Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted: “Happy that PM Narendra Modiji has laid the foundation stone to Vanijya Bhawan. Once completed, the building will be a modern, eco-friendly structure with its entire roof used for solar power generation, zero waste discharge, offering universal accessibility.”

The Bhawan will comprise the Minister’s room, 85 cabins for senior officers, 19 meeting rooms with seating capacities ranging from 10 to 100, library and more than 1,000 workstations.

Modi also said the land on which the building is being constructed was earlier occupied by Directorate General of Supplies and Disposal. This is replaced by the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), which has seen transactions worth Rs 8,700 crore in a short time.

He urged the Department of Commerce to work towards further expansion of GeM and leverage it for the benefit of the country’s MSME sector. (IANS)