Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said reforms must be undertaken not to grab headlines but to touch the lives of all Indians, especially the poor.
Inaugurating the sixth Delhi Economics Conclave, Modi said the economy was doing better in all parametres than it was 17 months ago when the National Democratic Alliance government came to power at the Centre.
“By almost every major indicator, India is doing better than when we took office 17 months ago... GDP growth is up and inflation is down, foreign investment is up and CAD (current account deficit) is down, revenues are up, the fiscal deficit is down and the rupee is stable... This did not happen by accident, this success is a result of a series of well-thought policies,” Modi said, describing the reform initiatives to transform India as “a marathon and not a sprint.”
Modi, underlining the importance of the JAM—Jan Dhan, Adhar, Mobile-vision, said that it was about ‘Just Achieving Maximum’.
“For me JAM is about achieving maximum -- achieving the maximum values for every rupee spent, maximum empowerment and maximum technology penetration among the masses,” he said.
“I firmly believe that India’s people are far more mature and far more public-spirited than arm-chair critics and experts give them credit for. An important governance issue is a mutual trust between citizens and the state,” the PM added.
Modi also said his government has managed to reduce wasteful expenditure through innovative methods like the use of technology and use Aadhaar for targeted subsidies to the deserving. He said India has enormous entrepreneurial energy.
“This needs to be harnessed so that we become a nation of job creators rather than job seekers,” he said at the conclave that is being attended by economists from India and abroad.
Noting the success of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana under which 190 million people have been brought under the banking net, he said that there is a strength at the bottom of the pyramid. The Prime Minister said that the Jan-Dhan accounts at present have a total balance of almost Rs 26,000 crore.
He also said that the country’s indigenous RuPay Cards enjoys a market share of 36% in the debit card segment while this was dominated by foreign players. He added that the for the first time, the government has entered into a monetary framework with the Reserve Bank of India to curb inflation.
“We embarked on a course of fiscal consolidation, we entered for the first time into a monetary framework agreement with RBI to curb inflation,” Modi said, adding that the need of the hour was to think beyond conventional remedies.
“Our idea of reform should be inclusive and broad-based... The goal of reform is not better headlines in the big papers but better lives for our people.”.