Economy showing green shoots: PM
Claiming that India will play a leading role in global economic revival, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that the call for a “self-reliant India” is not about “being closed to the world” but about merging domestic production and consumption with global supply chains.
Modi also said India is one of the most open economies in the world, and invited global companies to invest in the country across sectors including defence.
In a speech by video link to the inaugural session of India Global Week, an event organised by a London-based group, India.Inc, the PM reiterated that green shoots were visible in the economy. He also spoke about the reservoir of Indian talent and India’s capacity to reform and rejuvenate; highlighted the economic achievements of the past six years and laid out the contours of the relief package as well as economic reforms in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic; and said India will play a key role in the production and scaling up of the vaccine for the virus once it is developed.
“This is an India that is reforming, performing and transforming. This is an India that offers new economic opportunities. This is an India that is adopting a human-centric and inclusive approach to development. India awaits you all,” he said.
The PM’s remarks come in the backdrop of a projected contraction in the economy due to the pandemic and the lockdown imposed to curb its spread. It also comes amid speculation about the spirit behind the Self-Reliant India campaign, and whether it would mark a reversal of a liberal, globalised economic paradigm.
“Self-reliant India is about merging domestic production and consumption with global supply chains. It is not about being self-contained or closed to the world. It is about being self sustaining and self-generating, and pursuing policies which promote efficiency, equity and resilience,” the PM said.
Claiming that very few countries offer the kind of opportunity India does today, the PM mentioned how recent reforms have created a conducive environment for investment and outlined a list of sectors with potential — agriculture, particularly storage and logistics; the micro, small and medium enterprises sector which will “complement big industries”; space; technology and startups, among others.
He also mentioned the scope in defence, with relaxed foreign direct investment norms. “One of the world’s biggest militaries invites you to make products for it.”
The PM spoke of how India’s pharma industry has been an asset for the world — by playing a leading role in reducing the costs of medicines, providing two-thirds of the vaccines needed worldwide for children and now as a part of international efforts to find a vaccine for Covid-19. “India will have a big role in the development and scaling up of the vaccine when it is found.”
The PM said India will have a key role in global revival because of two factors — its talent and its reformist abilities. “Indians are natural reformers.” But he said that the revival India is aspiring for is revival with care, with compassion, and a revival which is sustainable for both the economy and the environment.
Claiming that the foundations have been laid by the work done in the last six years, the PM specifically mentioned “total financial inclusion”, record housing and infrastructure creation, ease of doing business and tax reforms such as the Goods and Services Tax. He also spoke about how the relief package in the wake of the pandemic is reaching the poor, with every penny in their hands, with the help of technology.
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said.“PM Modi is showing people stars in broad daylight by painting a picture of roses on canvas of cactus stitched with thread of his government’s mismanagement and mishandling of economy,”
Modi’s version of “self-reliant” India means solely being reliant on his government’s “hollow slogans and sketchy implementation” rather than being reliant on jobs, profitable business and growth which the BJP has successfully snatched away from the landscape of Indian economy, he added.
Shergill said the PM’s approach of labelling 45-year-high unemployment, projects negative growth rate, rising NPAs (by Rs 4 lakh crore in next year), closing MSMEs, evaporating savings, rising fuel prices as “green shoots” fits into classic description “Nero fiddled while Rome burned”.
“Tragedy of the nation is while economic recession is spreading like wildfire, the PM is busy window dressing rather than addressing the deepening crisis,” he said.