Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government had initiated a slew of economic and social measures that would make India the world’s third-largest economy at $10 trillion and the leader in areas such as electric vehicles and energy storage devices.
Modi criticised the “policy-paralysis years” of the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) dispensation and contrasted the period with the tenure of his government, which he claimed had succeeded in achieving the highest growth rate and the lowest inflation rate in the post-economic liberalisation era.
“We look forward to making India a $10-trillion economy. We look forward to making India the third-largest economy. We want to make India a place for start-ups. We want to give our people energy security. We want to reduce our import dependence. We want to make India the world leader in electric vehicles and energy storage devices,” the PM said at the Economic Times Global Business Summit.
Asserting that his government had broken the myth that a government could not be pro-growth and pro-poor at the same time, he said innovation and technology were forming the bedrock of various initiatives now and would bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots in the country. “The outcomes of our focus on Digital India, Startup India, Make in India, and Innovate India are converging and reaping rich dividend,” he said.
Rolling out statistics to buttress his points, Modi said while 4,000 patents were granted in 2013-14, more than 13,000 were approved in 2017-18. Similarly, he said, the number of trademarks registered had gone up from around 68,000 in 2013-14 to 250,000 in 2016-17.
“Today, 44 per cent of the start-ups registered in India are from tier-2 and tier-3 cities. Our network of hundreds of Atal Tinkering Labs is coming up across the country and helping the atmosphere of innovation,” he said.
On railways, he said India had made its fastest train and that it had eliminated all unmanned railway crossings. “Today, while India is building IITs and AIIMS at a rapid pace, it has also built toilets and schools across the country. Today, while India is building 100 smart cities, it is also ensuring rapid progress in over 100 aspirational districts. Today, while India has become an exporter of electricity, it has also ensured that millions of households get access to electricity.”
He added: “While India prepares to send a man to Mars, it is also ensuring that every Indian has a roof over his head. While India is the fastest-growing world economy, it is also removing poverty at the fastest speed."
The PM said the tenure of the previous government — 2009 and 2014 — witnessed an average growth rate of 6.5 per cent with average inflation in double digits. During 2014-2019, he added, the country would register an average growth rate of 7.4 per cent and average inflation rate of less than 4.5 per cent.
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By enacting the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, and rolling out the goods and service tax (GST), a solid foundation for decades of higher growth had been laid, he said.
“Four years ago who would have believed that Rs 3 trillion or about $40 billion would be returned by defaulting borrowers. This is the impact of the IBC. This would help the country allocate financial resources more efficiently. All these reforms were implemented without halting work for the well-being of the larger section of the society,” he said.
India is a country of 130 crore aspirations and as such there cannot be a single vision for development and progress, the PM said.
“Our vision for new India caters to all sections of the society irrespective of their economic profile, caste, creed, language, and religion. We are working hard to create a new India that fulfills the aspirations of 130 crore Indians. Our vision of new India includes addressing the challenges of a future while also solving problems of the past,” Modi said.
He said the country was now witnessing various forms of competitions — a competition between ministries, a competition between states to attract investments, a competition for development, a competition for achieving targets, a competition for whether India will get 100 per cent sanitation first or 100 per cent electrification first, etc. “Before 2014 also, we heard of competition, although of a different kind — a competition on corruption, delays between ministries and individuals,” he said, mocking the UPA government.