Unveiling a soaring vision of India’s economic ascent and his plans for scripting national resurgence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has underscored his optimism in the country’s future, saying that despite global headwinds and challenges, India can successfully go forward and faster in a manner that will benefit the common people.
Laying out his overarching development agenda for India’s future, Mr Modi underlined that hard challenges can become opportunities for India to move to the next level of growth, improve livelihoods and bring a large section of the people out of poverty. Most credit rating agencies have given a favourable outlook for India’s economic performance for the year ahead.
Presenting the accomplishments of his government, Mr Modi spoke about the reforms his government has undertaken since taking over in May 2014. Mr Modi was addressing a distinguished gathering comprising top corporate honchos and strategic business thinkers at the second Airtel-Economic Times Global Business Summit in New Delhi on January 29. The audience included, among others, GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty, GE Vice-Chairman John Rice, McKinsey MD Dominic Barton, Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Mittal, Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal, Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani and a host of dignitaries and diplomats.
In less than two years, we have taken India to the top of the global league tables of foreign investment and growth. We have a long way to go but I feel ours is a journey well begun… I am confident we will reach our destination. We have created a platform for a new future and for a new India,” Mr Modi said.
“India has emerged as the world’s fastest-growing economy that’s become an engine of global growth and a draw for overseas investors amid worldwide uncertainty,” Mr Modi said. “Thus its contribution to growth is 68% higher than its share of the global economy,” he said. “Foreign direct investment in India has increased by 39% in the last 18 months, at a time when global FDI has fallen,” he added.
Making a pitch for the flagship programmes of his government, he spoke about how the government is seeking to boost the economy through programmes such as ‘Make in India’ and has introduced policy changes to create jobs, raise incomes, improve the ease of doing business and improve the investment climate in the country.
“When the people of a nation make up their minds to go forward and when the power of the people is with us, hard challenges become huge opportunities,” Mr Modi said. “This confidence of mine is not formed in a vacuum but founded on my experience over the past 19 months,” he stressed.
Reform to Transform: India poised for quantum jump
The BJP-led NDA government has been criticized by some powerful voices in India Inc. for not doing enough to rationalise subsidies. Speaking about the impact of subsidies, Mr Modi said, “If our policies are studied closely, you will find that many are popular, but none are populist.”
“Every one of the changes we have made is in the direction of good governance and rationality,” Mr Modi said and elaborating on this context he spoke about the broader issue of subsidies versus incentives.
“When a benefit is given to farmers or to the poor, experts and government officers call it a subsidy,” Mr Modi said. Taking a subtle dig at India Inc, Mr Modi said, “However, I find that if a benefit is given to industry or commerce, it is usually called an ‘incentive’ or a ‘subvention’. We must ask ourselves whether this difference in language also reflects a difference in attitude. Why is it that subsidies going to the well-off are portrayed in a positive manner?”
Underscoring his “Reform to Transform” agenda, the prime minister said that India was poised for a quantum leap and reiterated his commitment to economic reforms.
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