With the world’s gaze turned on the India growth story and the trajectory of the country’s economic reforms in Asia’s third largest economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the international community about his commitment to “people-centric” reforms and the need to insulate it from “the political process.”
“There is bound to be resistance to change or reform. But it cannot be done in stealth,” Mr Modi told the leaders of the world’s leading economies during a special intervention on the first day of the G20 plenary session in Brisbane November 15. His remarks came in response to an invitation by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is hosting the Leaders’ Summit.
In a veiled allusion to the pulls and pressures of democratic politics and India’s argumentative society, Mr Modi underscored that there was a need to “insulate reforms from the political process,” indicating his government’s willingness to go ahead with difficult second-generation economic reforms despite opposition from critics and sections of his own party to FDI in in multi-brand retail.
Ever since his election as the leader of the world’s largest democracy in May 2014, the world has been curious to know about Mr Modi’s vision of the prospects of the economic reforms in Asia’s third largest economy, which were bogged down in policy paralysis under his predecessor.
And at the G20 summit, the world’s leaders got a chance to know it all from the man who has kindled new hopes about India’s economic resurgence. In his intervention, Mr Modi said that globally, reforms are handicapped with the perception of being government programmes, and a burden on the people. “This needs to change,” he said while advocating that reforms should be people-centric and driven by the people.
“You need to address the root causes while undertaking reforms. It should be technology-driven and lead to simplification of procedures,” he said.
In his multifarious interactions with world leaders both in the G20 format as well as in a series of bilateral meetings, India’s commitment to economic reforms was a recurrent theme, which he amplified in different ways. “Come, see for yourself,” Mr Modi, a former chief minister of India’s prosperous western state, told European Council President Herman Van Rumpoy, when the latter blamed the lack of political in India stalled the India-EU broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement initiated seven years ago in 2007.
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