Prime Minister Narendra Modi told BRICS leaders Monday that India is fast changing into one of the most open economies in the world, with improvements on global indices and the biggest ever reform GST weaving the nation into one unified market. At his dialogue with the BRICS Business Council, he said programmes to promote use of digital mode for payments and transactions, encourage start-ups to set up businesses and boost local manufacturing are changing the economic landscape of the country.
“India is changing fast into one of the most open economies in the world today. Foreign direct investment inflows are at an all-time high, rising by 40 per cent,” Modi said. Chinese President Xi Jinping, meanwhile, said China will provide 500 million yuan ($76.4 million) for a BRICS economic and technology cooperation plan. He said China would give $4 million for projects at the BRICS countries’ New Development Bank. Xi chaired the ninth BRICS summit Monday, calling on the group of five emerging economies to intensify cooperation and contribute more to a world troubled by protectionism and imbalanced development. “We must redouble our efforts to usher in the second golden decade of BRICS cooperation,” Xi said.
Modi pitched GST, which unified more than a dozen taxes from July 1, as India’s biggest economic reform ever. “In one stroke, a unified market of 1.3 billion people has been created,” he said.
Underlining the “common objective of improving business and investment cooperation”, Modi called for finalisation at the earliest of a BRICS rating agency, and said, “I am happy to note that China has taken forward the people-to-people thrust of our exchanges from last year” because “such inter-mingling will consolidate our links and deepen our understanding”.
Speaking at the plenary session of the BRICS summit, Modi told Xi, South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazilian President Michel Temer and Russian President Vladimir Putin: “We contribute stability and growth in a world drifting towards uncertainty. While trade and economy have been the foundation of our cooperation, our endeavours today touch diverse areas of technology, tradition, culture, agriculture, environment, energy, sports, and ICT.
“The New Development Bank has started disbursing loans in pursuit of its mandate to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development in BRICS countries. At the same time, our central banks have taken steps to make the Contingent Reserve Arrangement fully operational. These are milestones of progress we can build upon. Looking ahead, it is important that our people remain at the centre of our journey.”
India, China and the other three members of the BRICS grouping pledged to exchange tax information to address the problem of tax evasion and provide technical assistance to other developing countries.
In the Xiamen declaration issued at the end of the BRICS Summit’s plenary session, the influential grouping — which includes Brazil, Russia and South Africa — reaffirmed their commitment to “achieving a fair and modern global tax system”.