Stating that his government would pursue “predictable and transparent” policies and ensure stable taxes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday promised that India would be the “easiest” place to do business.
Addressing political and business leaders including US Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank head Jim Yong Kim, at the Seventh Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit, Modi said: “Since day one, my government is actively working to revive the economy. My government is committed to creating a policy environment that is predictable, transparent and fair… We are clear that our tax regime should be stable.”
Seeking to address key concerns of foreign investors, he said: “(Ease of doing business in India) is a prime concern for you and for us. I assure you that we are working very seriously on these issues. We want to make them not only easier than earlier, not only easier than the rest, but we want to make them the easiest.”
Emphasising the advantages of doing business in India, he said: “India has three things to its credit — democracy, demography and demand. This is what you are looking for. And I am sure you will not find all of them together at any other destination.’’ He also spoke of low-cost manufacturing and high-quality manpower.
“We are planning to take a quantum leap,” he said, in his 40-minute speech in English. “India is changing fast, growing fast, moving faster than expected, learning even faster,” he said.
Listing his government’s achievements, he spoke of the Jan Dhan scheme, and his Make in India campaign to promote manufacturing. “We are not only making commitments and announcements. We are also backing them up with concrete action,” he said.
“People say Modi does everything with hype, but it is this hype that pressures the government,” he said, addressing the local audience in Hindi.
Appealing to world leaders to join hands for “progress, prosperity and peace’’, Modi said, “aao saath chalein” (Come walk with us). He assured that the government would “hold your hands whenever needed…If you walk one step, we will walk two steps for you.”
Seeking to boost manufacturing to promote growth and encourage job creation, Modi said a single window clearance for projects was being set up at both central and state level. “To upgrade manufacturing infrastructure, we are setting up world-class investment and industrial regions along with dedicated freight and industrial corridors,” he said, adding that India is on the “path of transformation”.
Spelling out his vision, he said institutions and systems of delivery have to be strengthened. “You may be aware that our economic growth had slowed down during the last few years. Now, my government is putting all efforts to ensure faster and yet inclusive growth. The initial results are very encouraging.”
The first two quarters of the current financial year beginning April 2014 have seen growth rate which is one per cent higher than the previous year, Modi said, adding that IMF has predicted that India would be the second fastest growing economy in the coming years.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), India would be the only country among world’s top economies which would increase its pace of growth this year, he said.
Modi aims to lift stagnant capital investment that has held back India’s growth to 5.3 percent. That is expected to accelerate this year to 6.4 per cent, said the World Bank’s Jim Yong Kim, who called India a “bright spot” in a mediocre global economic landscape.
Modi has made headway on making it easier for outsiders to invest more in real estate, insurance and defence, but a rigid labour market and poor infrastructure remain huge deterrents. India slipped to 142nd out of 189 in the World Bank’s latest Doing Business Index. Modi wants India in the top 50.
Meanwhile, Modi also expressed “solidarity with the people of France as they mourn their loss and come to terms with the brutal terrorist attack. Let us pledge to work together to make sure that it will not succeed against the values that we stand by.”