PRIME Minister Narendra Modi Monday said the government was working towards doubling the size of the Indian economy to $5 trillion as soon as possible and placing India among the top 50 countries in the Ease of Doing Business ranking of the World Bank.
Reflecting on the record improvement in Ease of Doing Business, Modi told a select gathering of industry leaders, Cabinet ministers, foreign diplomats, and top bureaucrats, “The country has seen a 180-degree change in the last four years with India moving 65 notches up to 77 in the Ease of Doing Business ranking. Such a massive improvement is a record in itself. Today, we rank the first in South Asia. We just need a few more steps to be among the top 50.”
The PM said that his government was strengthening the “cooperative competitive federalism” framework and was continuously in discussion with states to streamline regulatory approvals and expedite clearances. “We will foster competition among districts too. We have to increase the per capita income, and for this we need industry, trade and business to flourish,” he said.
Towards this end, the government was also working on a new industrial policy that would seek to boost competitiveness of the services and manufacturing sectors, Modi said. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is learnt to be ready to place a draft of the new industrial policy before the Union Cabinet.
“It will be an overarching policy for the manufacturing and services sector,” said Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, DIPP.
Modi said the twin focus of his government has been policy-driven governance and predictability in policies. “The Ease of Doing Business ranking is based on certain parameters. The idea is to take it far beyond the World Bank rankings and make doing business easy for the small and medium enterprises too. I will take review meetings with all other ministries and departments for this,” he said.
The government has abolished over 1,400 laws, reduced the time required to resolve commercial disputes to 400 days from 1,500, almost halved the time taken for clearances of imported goods to 144 hours from 280 hours, moved environment clearances online, besides minimising human interface and intervention, he said. “I believe in minimum government and maximum governance,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi referred to measures such as Goods and Services Tax, demonetisation, the insolvency code and the law to tackle black money and bring back fugitive economic offenders. “All this wasn’t easy. The software is easy to change, but not behaviour,” he said.
Among those the Prime Minister addressed were industry leaders Anand Mahindra, Uday Kotak, Anil Agarwal, Rashesh Shah, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Bosch’s Soumitra Bhattacharya and Softbank’s Manoj Kohli. Cabinet ministers Arun Jaitley, Suresh Prabhu and Harsh Vardhan, were also present.