Kuala Lumpur, Nov. 21 (ANI): Asserting that the time had come for India to make its mark in the resurgence of Asia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called the world leaders to come to India and witness the ‘winds of change’ as he pitched his ‘Make in India’ initiative on the global forum.
“I have been saying that the 21st century belongs to Asia. Together, ASEAN’s ten member countries form an economic powerhouse. ASEAN has emerged as one of the largest economic zones in the world. Last fifteen years have seen your rapid and yet stable growth. Your Macro-economic stability has been the main reason for growth and stability in South East Asia. With good governance, futuristic infrastructure and focus on new age technologies, you have created excellence,” Prime Minister Modi said addressing the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit here.
Complimenting the leadership and people of ASEAN countries for what they have achieved, the Prime Minister lauded the developments of the nations and said that the ‘spirit of the people’ was more responsible for progress than the ‘size of population’.
Talking about the importance of reforms in India, Prime Minister Modi said that the nation was in dire need of reforms before his government took office.
“My government took office nearly 18 months ago. The Indian economy faced serious challenges. A high fiscal deficit, a high current account deficit, a large number of stalled infrastructure projects and persistent inflation were among them. We asked ourselves the question – Is it a reform just to increase the measured rate of GDP growth? Or is it to bring about a transformation in society? My answer is clear: we must reform to transform,” he said.
Asserting that India was doing better than when his government took office 18 months ago, the Prime Minister said that the nation’s GDP growth was up and the inflation was down, among other things.
“Foreign investment is up and the Current Account Deficit is down. Tax revenues are up and interest rates are down. The fiscal deficit is down and the rupee is stable. Obviously, this did not happen by accident. This success is the result of a series of concerted policies. We have entered, for the first time, into a monetary framework agreement with the Reserve Bank to curb inflation,” he added.
Expressing confidence that there was an increased sense of assurance within the nation, Prime Minister Modi said the IMF and World Bank have expressed even better hope for the Indian economy this year and after.
“The Economist magazine this week stated that “India is in healthier shape than any other big emerging economy. However, as I said, our aim is not mere reform, but “reform to transform”. Macro-economic stability is good. But to transform India, much more needs to be done. We have begun a series of concerted steps. These include structural and institutional reforms,” he said.
Discussing the new reforms in India, the Prime Minister briefed the Summit about a series of simple but ‘powerful structural’ reforms launched by his government.
“There was a tendency to divert subsidised fertiliser for the production of chemicals. We have found a simple but very effective solution: by neem-coating the fertiliser, it becomes unsuitable for diversion. This has already saved billions of rupees of diverted farm subsidies. We have also introduced Soil Health Card. This tells every farmer the condition of his or her soil and then enables him to choose the right crop, best quantity and mix of inputs,” he said.
“We have launched a housing program, one of the most ambitious in the world. It involves building 20 million urban houses and 29.5 million rural houses, totalling nearly 50 million. We have undertaken major improvements in the transport sector. Our major ports witnessed a 4.65% growth in traffic and an 11.2% increase in operating income, in 2014-15 despite a global contraction in trade volume,” he added.
Praising the impact of his ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’ in India, Prime Minister Modi said in less than a year, 190 million new bank accounts have been opened.
“On Social security front, we have launched innovative and attractive schemes for insurance and pension. We have also set up MUDRA Bank to fund the small traders who were unfunded so far. More than six million small traders have already availed the loans. For the first time since banks were nationalised 46 years ago, private sector professionals have been appointed in key positions. We have started a major revamp of the power sector,” he said.
Wooing the world leaders for his ‘Make in India’ pitch, the Prime Minister said that his government has been working hard on the front of ‘ease of doing business’.
“Reducing complicated procedures, making them available at one platform- preferably online, simplifying the forms and formats has been taken up on war footing. That is how we have jumped up by 12 ranks in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report of 2016. We are working in all ways to make India a global manufacturing hub,” he said.
He also stressed that India was committed to protect Intellectual Property Rights of all innovators.
“We have taken several initiatives for transparency and online processing in IP administration. A comprehensive National IPR policy is expected by the end of the year. We are moving fast to make sure that our tax regime is transparent and predictable. We are also keen to see that genuine investors and honest tax payers get quick and fair decisions on tax matters,” he said.
Inviting the world leaders to come and invest, Prime Minister Modi said India was a ‘land of immense opportunities’ and that India should be given the opportunity to contribute in Asia’s resurgence.
“Our democratic values and an alert judicial system ensure the safety of your investments. Most of the ASEAN economies have done their bit for Asia’s resurgence. Now, it is India’s turn. And we know that our time has come. I invite you to come and see the winds of change in India. When you come, you will get the wings of a new business environment. And once you are there, I assure you of my full co-operation,” he added. (ANI)