India should be an engine for worldwide growth on the strengths of its democracy and a fresh push to revitalise the country’s economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday.
Since India’s voters gave the first clear majority mandate to the BJP in three decades, the NDA government has put in place policies to realise its vision for a New Age India with clear economic goals, Modi said in an op-ed article in the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Modi, currently in Germany on the second leg of a three-nation tour, however, said India’s development would depend on inclusive growth that took all its citizens “together into a better socio-economic future”.
“I visualise India as a key engine of global growth. Our democratic principles and practices are guarantors of stability. We have a free media and an independent judiciary that allows all opinions to be aired without fear,” he said in the piece.
“We believe in ‘Rahein Saath Badhe Saath’ (stay together-grow together). There is no other way forward. Mankind's progress in this century depends on cooperation and collaboration,” he added.
“Conflict is unthinkable. So is poverty which Gandhi called the worst form of violence. If we can take all Indians together into a better socio-economic future, I believe that the world we share will be a better place for all.”
Modi, who earlier co-authored several op-ed pieces with leaders of countries that he visited, said in the article that India’s focus is “not merely economic growth but an inclusive development”.
“This requires creating jobs, upgrading skills, raising productivity, benchmarking quality with global standards. Our aim is to completely eliminate poverty and to propel all Indians into a life of purpose and dignity within a generation,” he said.
He added that the decisive outcome of India’s general election in May last year was a verdict “for change and for good and effective governance. It was also a call for development reflective of growing aspirations of India’s youthful millions.”
In the past 11 months, the NDA government had re-energised the Indian growth engine and restored the credibility of the country’s economy. “India is once again poised for rapid growth and development. It is the only emerging economy where growth rate is rising. The prospects are even better,” Modi contended.
“This has not happened by chance. My government has earnestly taken up the challenge of development and economic transformation of India. For us, development is not a mere political agenda; it is an article of faith,” he said.
Generating jobs for India’s youthful population is key to harnessing the country’s demographic advantage and this can be achieved by significantly and quickly ramping up manufacturing capabilities. The government unveiled the "Make in India" initiative to meet this objective, Modi said.
Employment opportunities generated by new manufacturing will enhance the people’s purchasing power and create opportunities for more trade and investment. “With 65% of our population below the age of 35, the possibilities that India's growth presents for global economic prosperity are immense,” he said.
India’s "Act East” and "Link West” policies have the potential of making the country “the middle ground for East and West as a manufacturing hub” that serves both India’s vast market and global exports.
Modi pointed out that his government had pledged a stable and transparent tax regime, reducing corporate taxes and implementing a single Goods and Services Tax in 2016.
At the same time, he said, all development must be environmentally sustainable and the country’s revised target for renewable energy capacity of 175,000 MW by 2022 is a reflection of this commitment.
Modi identified growing urbanization as one of India’s greatest challenges. “The population in our cities is projected to double in 10 years. Our focus on development of Smart Cities is aimed at providing the basic necessities of affordable housing, clean water and a safe environment for our people,” he said.
International support and collaboration is “equally critical” to achieving India’s objectives. “I have therefore sought to build a foreign policy which is an integral part of our national development strategy. My interactions with leaders of USA, Russia, France, Japan and China have all aimed at creating enduring partnerships with shared stakes in global development and well-being,” he added.
Modi said Germany enjoyed a special place in this context as the two countries share a strategic partnership based on common values. “Our priorities fit well with Germany’s expertise. India’s development needs can become business opportunities for German industry,” he said.
Despite the presence of more than 1,600 Indo-German collaborations, a great deal of potential remains unrealized, he said. “Higher levels of investments are possible and indeed desirable. Germany is globally renowned for its engineering, innovation and skills. The capacities of your Mittelstand and family-owned businesses are well known. I invite them to come to India,” he said.