Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaffirmed on Friday India’s status as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and stressed that states must work hand in hand with the Centre to keep the pace going.
“All this when the world economy is slowing down ... Going by statistics, we can say India is moving at a steady pace towards a shining future,” he said, delivering the inaugural address on the theme, Towards a Brighter India, at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.
He gave credit to the people for giving the NDA a clear mandate, saying a stable government is necessary for economic growth. “There was an atmosphere of disappointment earlier. The mandate we got from people was the first step towards changing it.”
Modi, who led the BJP to a massive victory in the 2014 general election, said states have the most important role in the nation’s progress and they along with the Centre should work together to improve the ease of doing business in India.
“Till now Delhi decided where states will spend money. This has changed and now chief ministers decide where the money will be spent. It is important that the world knows about our states and the strengths of our states,” he explained.
“We want to foster contacts between leaders of other countries and our states.”
Underlining that the growth story cannot be limited to the country’s western states, he pointed out that those in the east such as Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh which were not expected to do well in the ease of doing business rankings have proven themselves.
He reminded that each state has a different USP and, hence, there’s a need to work together to let the world know the India beyond its metropolitan cities.
Stronger growth figures have given the Prime Minister the fuel to focus on reforms to accelerate growth and give impetus to NDA government initiatives and schemes such as the Jan Dhan Yojana, Make in India, Swachh Bharat and Digital India. Also, he hopes to convince his opponents to bring about a much-delayed national sales tax in 2016.
Asia’s third-largest economy expanded by a 7.4% annual rate in the second quarter of the financial year, compared with 7% in April-June, outpacing China on improving domestic demand and manufacturing activity. China reported annual growth of 6.9% for the three months ended September 30.
Modi, facing a belligerent Opposition in Parliament, thanked all political parties who have let the House function this winter session. “The good news is that it is functioning smoothly and the credit for it goes not to Modi but to all parties,” he said.
The Prime Minister underlined the need to save resources, rather than ramping up investment, and enumerated his government’s work to improve living conditions of people across the country.
“I am not criticising anyone but even after 70 years of freedom, we have 18,000 villages which don’t have even an electricity pole. I am not saying previous governments didn’t work. I called officials and said I need work. I said I will do it in 1,000 days.”
In around 100 days, more than 3,000 villages now have electricity against a target of 1,900, he said.
“I request all of you to download the Gramin Vidyutikaran app on your mobile. You can see what work is happening in which village.”