The economy was in much worse shape than he had imagined when he took over in 2014 and, in fact, some budget numbers put forth by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government were even “suspicious”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an interview to Swarajya magazine.
Modi spoke about a range of issues from job creation to the farm crisis in the interview and also commented on the recent failure of the government to find buyers for Air India (AI).
“On this issue, more than a lack of jobs, the issue is a lack of data on jobs. Our opponents will naturally exploit this opportunity to paint a picture of their choice and blame us,” said Modi, indicating that jobs have been created but not measured.
Commenting on the AI divestment that had to be deferred following lack of interest from buyers, Modi said a difference needs to be made between a lack of interest from buyers and the lack of decisive policy decisions.
A snapshot of PM Modi’s views on a range of economic issues
JOBSJob creation was a focal point of the BJP’s election campaign and criticism of its failure to create jobs has dogged itModi:
"If we look at numbers for employment, more than 41 lakh formal jobs were created from September 2017 to April 2018 based on EPFO payroll data. According to a study based on EPFO data, more than 70 lakh jobs were created in the formal sector last year.
Now, you know that informal sector constitutes around 80% of all jobs. We also know that job creation in the formal sector can have a spinoff effect on job creation in the informal sector too.
In just one year, 48 lakh new enterprises got registered. Will this not result in more formalisation and better jobs?
More than 12 crore loans have been given under Mudra (micro loans). Is it unfair to expect that one loan would have created or supported means of livelihood for at least one person?
More than one crore houses have been constructed in the last one year; how much employment would this have generated? If road construction has more than doubled per month, if there is tremendous growth in railways, highways, airlines, etc, what does it indicate?"THE FARM CRISISThe roadmap to doubling farm income by 2022Modi:
"We are following a four-pronged strategy to achieve the goal of doubling farmers’ income: decrease the input costs, ensure proper prices for the produce, ensure minimal harvest and post-harvest losses, and create more avenues for income generation.
Not only will the farmers get minimum support price of 1.5 times their cost, they also have more avenues to get the right price with the help of e-NAM (the electronic National Agricultural Market, which provides price, production and market information to farmers)."THE UPA LEGACYFor long the Modi government has blamed the UPA for every economic woe facing India. So why didn’t the government come out with a white paper on the state of the economy after assuming power in 2014?Modi:
"The state of the economy was much worse than expected. Things were terrible. Even the budget figures were suspicious. When all of this came to light, we had two options – to be driven by Rajneeti (political considerations) or be guided by Rashtraneeti (putting the interests of India First).Needless to say, we preferred to think of ‘India First’ instead of putting politics first."
PRIVATE INVESTMENTExperts have pointed to GDP data to show that gross fixed capital formation is mostly backed by public sector investment and that private investment is yet to pick up.Modi:
"I would also like to urge the private sector to increase investment in agriculture. In India, private sector investment is only 1.75 per cent of total investment in agriculture. From technology to food processing and from modern machinery to research, there is huge scope for the private sector.
The Government of India has undertaken so many reforms in this sector, including scope for more FDI, less bottlenecks, etc, so the corporate world should now rise to the occasion and invest. So many years after Independence, why can’t India have enhanced capabilities in defence manufacturing?"FIXING INDIA’S BANKSThe crisis in the banking sector has intensified, with NPA-levels rising.Modi:
"Earlier, if someone owed .500 crore and when it was time to repay that loan, a phone call from Delhi would ensure another loan of .500 crore is given so that the previous loan was repaid. This cycle persisted. We stopped this. This is why the old loans had to be shown as NPAs.
Now (with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code), many businessmen have had to lose their companies for failing to pay bank dues".EASE OF DOING BIZIn 2017, India moved up 30 notches to break into top 100 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business survey.Modi:
"For ease of doing business, the earlier mandatory 56 registers maintained under labour laws have been replaced by 5 common registers and 36 forms have been reduced to 12. All the existing labour laws are being simplified, rationalised and amalgamated into four labour codes.
Processes for incorporating a company have been simplified, it is possible to get it done in 24 hrs.
"GST has been designed to eliminate Inspector Raj with the help of information technology..".
First Published: Jul 02, 2018 20:47 IST