Reiterating govt's commitment to reforms, PM Narendra Modi says he wants to bring more historic changes
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared his ambition to bring about a paradigm shift through a series of historic changes, reiterating the government's commitment to reforms and projecting India as a bright spot amid global gloom after having emerged as the world's fastest-growing economy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared his ambition to bring about a paradigm shift through a series of historic changes, reiterating the government's commitment to reforms and projecting India as a bright spot amid global gloom after having emerged as the world's fastest-growing economy.

"We are seen as the engine of global growth," Modi said at the opening of the eighth Vibrant Gujarat global investor summit in Gujarat's capital on Tuesday. "World Bank, IMF and other institutions have projected even better growth in the coming days."

Modi said his government wants to make India one of the easiest places in the world to do business in, making it irresistibly attractive to investors. "It is our vision and mission to bring a paradigm shift in the ways of our polity and economy," he told an audience that included India's top industrialists, including Mukesh Ambani and Ratan Tata, and world leaders. "We have taken a series of decisions and steps in this direction."

The key to improving investor sentiment lay in removing the scope for discretion.

"We are bringing a shift from relationship-based governance to system-based governance, from discretionary administration to policy-based administration, from random interference to technological intervention, from favouritism to level playing field, from informal economy to formal economy," the prime minister said.

Digital technology is playing a key role in this shift, the prime minister emphasised.

"We are on the threshold of becoming the world's most digitised economy," Modi said. "Most of you wanted this change in India. I'm proud to say that this is happening before you. Over the last two and a half years, we have worked relentlessly to realise India's potential and to set right the economy. The results have been encouraging. There has been substantial improvement in key microeconomic indicators like GDP growth, inflation, fiscal deficit, current account deficit as well as foreign inves ..

Modi said his government had a mandate to clean up the system. "Our government was elected first and foremost on the promise to provide clean governance and end the prevailing regime of corruption and nepotism," he said.

"India has become the fastest-growing major economy in the world. Despite the global slowdown, we have registered excellent growth. Today, India is a bright spot in the global economy."

Among the government's historic initiatives, he listed the upcoming goods and services tax (GST), insolvency and bankruptcy rules, the National Company Law Tribunal, the new arbitration framework and the updated intellectual property regime. "Creating an investment climate is top priority," Modi said.

MUCH MORE COMPETITIVE

The country is much more competitive than it used to be, close to global best practices, he said. "India is today among the most open of economies. This has been recognised by both domestic and foreign investors," the prime minister said. "My government is strongly committed to continue the reform of the Indian economy."

He said India was the leading recipient of capital investment in the Asia-Pacific region and was among the top 10 globally in foreign direct investment inflows.

Crucially, it has also become the leader in return on investment. "In 2015, India has risen to first position in the Baseline Profitability Index," he said. The prime minister said India offers unprecedented opportunities for investors.

"Most of you can work with us in a number of areas," he said. These included hardware to software; soft skills to scientific temper; defence systems to cyber security; and medicine to tourism.

"India alone offers the opportunities that could rival those of an entire continent," he said. "It offers today, the possibilities of a full century. And we want to do all this in a cleaner, greener and sustainable way. We are committed to protect the environment and uphold our responsibility towards Nature. Ultimately, this is what India has stood for since ages."

MANUFACTURING INITIATIVE A BIG SUCCESS

He said the government's manufacturing initiative was a tremendous success. 'Make in India', which aims to make the country a hub for manufacturing, design and investment, is the country's biggest global brand ever. India today is the sixth-largest manufacturing country, up from ninth, Modi said.

India's potential is even higher, he pointed out. For instance, food processing is expected to increase fivefold in the next 10 years.

Also, low vehicle penetration makes India one of the world's most attractive markets for auto makers.

"We are committed to an India with better job opportunities, better income, better quality of life and better standards," he said. "Our development needs are huge, our development agenda is ambitious."

The government wants to ensure all people have homes and that all Indians have jobs. He cited the three Ds that were India's advantages — "democracy, demography and demand".

His government had demonstrated that it was possible to deliver quick results in a democratic setup. This also meant that a culture of healthy competition had developed among states, which were being rated on good governance.

DEMOGRAPHIC ADVANTAGE

India's demographic advantage meant it had a vast pool of about 800 million people below 35.

"The disciplined, dedicated and talented youth of India offer a globally unmatched workforce," he said. They are not merely looking for jobs but are willing to take risks by being entrepreneurial, he added.

While the country's rising middle class offers a huge domestic market, its geography offers easy access to some of the world's biggest markets in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, the prime minister said.

Among other advantages, he cited India's three-crop agricultural season, the world's secondlargest number of scientists and engineers and its arts and culture, all of which meant good quality of life at relatively low cost.

He also paid tribute to his fellow Gujaratis, saying the state represents the business spirit of India, recalling the modest beginnings of Vibrant Gujarat in 2003, when he was the CM.



 

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