At a time when the GDP growth slipped to a six-year low, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday said the economy was headed “towards destruction 5-6 years ago” but his NDA government turned it around with “discipline and positivity”.
Speaking at the inaugural session of ‘100 years of ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India)’ in New Delhi, Modi emphasised on the government’s vision of making the country a $5 trillion economy and a global economic powerhouse.
“Every group that can enable the economy is keeping the target of $5 trillion economy at the centre of its plans and talks are happening in several sectors. These talks are positive,” he said, adding “this is a government that listens to the farmer, the labourer, and the entrepreneur as well.”
Asserting that the government has brought “discipline and positivity” in the economy, Modi said the country has strengthened itself in a major way and thus, we can strive and achieve the $5 trillion economy target.
“We all know that 5 years ago, our economy was running towards destruction. Our Govt has changed that and has brought discipline and positivity,” he said. “I today want to assure those associated with the banking sector and corporate sector, that we have been to an extent successful in controlling the earlier weaknesses. So take decisions, invest and spend without any hesitation.”
PM Modi added that the country will emerge out of the current slump much stronger.
The economic growth has been sliding sharply in recent quarters, prompting the government to announce a series of measures including a mega corporate tax reduction to boost economic expansion.
The Prime Minister also recounted the government’s achievements in improving the Ease of Doing Business ranking. “You climb up the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings when you work hard day and night, when you bring about a change in the policies, starting from the ground.”
Modi said the government is working to decriminalise provision of Companies Act to make it easier to do business in the country. Modi said many provision of the Companies Act have been decriminalised and work is on to bring in more provisions.
Highlighting his government’s initiatives including bringing in Aadhaar and the implementation of the GST, the Prime Minister said it wants to formalise and modernise the economy.
“From providing measures to increase digital transactions to GST, and from Aadhar linked payments to DBT, we’ve tried to include such positive moves..We brought the GST. According to the suggestions and feedback we received from the industry sector, we made the necessary changes. We kept changing it dynamically.”
Modi’s address comes at a time when the government has been facing allegations of losing confidence among corporates. Earlier this month, Bajaj Group chairman Rahul Bajaj, in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said industrialists were not able to criticise the government openly.
“Nobody from our industrialist friends will speak, I will say openly… An environment will have to be created… When UPA II was in power, we could criticise anyone… You (the government) are doing good work, but despite that we don’t have the confidence that you will appreciate if we criticise you openly,” the industrialist had said.
Last week, IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said the government should undertake structural reforms such as bank clean-up and labour reforms to address the slowdown in domestic demand.
The event also comes on the backdrop of nationwide protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act that seeks to grant citizenship to Non-Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.