‘India to be easiest place for business’

modikerryGUJARAT: Pledging a predictable and fair policy environment and a stable tax regime, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday assured the global community that India would be the “easiest” place to do business in.

“Since day one, my government is actively working to revive the economy.

“My government is committed to creating a policy environment that is predictable, transparent and fair,” he told a select audience that comprised US secretary of state John Kerry, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and top global and domestic CEOs.

Setting a positive tone for US President Barack Obama’s visit, secretary of state Kerry said it was the perfect time to tap the “incredible possibilities” between India and the United States, as he praised Modi, saying his initiatives like “Make-in-India” would be a win-win situation for the world.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, urged India to set an ambitious target to cut down carbon emissions, saying it was in a unique position to lead sustainability, energy efficiency and fight against climate change.

Modi, who took office as PM in May last year after the BJP stormed to power with a huge mandate, said the atmosphere of “despair and uncertainty” has disappeared in India within a very short span of seven months.

Speaking at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, conceived in 2003 by Modi as Gujarat CM, he told investors that his government will “hold your hands whenever needed… If you walk one step, we will walk two steps for you”.

The ease of doing business in India, he noted, “is a prime concern for you and for us.

“I assure you we are working very seriously on these issues. We want to make them not only easier than earlier; not only easier than the rest; but we want to make them the easiest”.

Seeking to address investors’ concerns, Modi said: “We are trying to complete the circle of economic reforms speedily.

“We are also keen to see that our policies are predictable. We are clear that our tax regime should be stable.

“In the last few months, we have taken several decisions in this direction.”

He also brushed aside the criticism that nothing was happening on the ground, and stressed: “We are not only making commitments and announcements. We are also backing them up with concrete action.”

One stop clearance

The government in the past seven months relaxed foreign direct investment norms in various sectors, including defence and insurance, launched the “Make-in-India” campaign and resorted to ordinances to pursue changes in land acquisition norms to promote investment.
Seeking to boost manufacturing to promote growth and boost job creation, Modi said a single-window clearance system for projects was being set up at both the Central and state levels.

“To upgrade manufacturing infrastructure, we are setting up world-class investment and industrial regions along with dedicated freight and industrial corridors,” he said.

India, he said, was on the “path of transformation”, adding that the government was trying to ensure policy-driven governance.

Stating the government had made commitments to its people for a great future for India in a very short time, he said: “We know that to do this, we need the enabling policy framework. We are working constantly to improve it further.”

The first two quarters of the current fiscal year beginning April 2014 had seen a growth rate that is one percent higher than the previous year,  Modi said, adding the IMF had predicted that

India would be the second fastest-growing economy in coming years.

Spelling out his vision, he said institutions and systems of delivery had to be strengthened.

“You may be aware that our economic growth had slowed down during the last few years. Now my government is putting all efforts to ensure faster and yet inclusive growth. The initial results are very encouraging.”

The focus is on building infrastructure like roads, gas grids, electricity and water systems, farm irrigation and cleaning of rivers through public and private investments, he said.

“In order to execute the infrastructure plan, a fast-track PPP mechanism is being put in place,” he said.

Modi also urged all leaders to follow the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi.

“Mahatma Gandhi rightly talked about the last man. Gandhiji’s message can show us the way.

“To me, the best outcome of this event should be inclusiveness and the involvement of those communities which need care,” he said.

The PM said this Vibrant Gujarat Summit was an event for the inclusiveness of small with big, of poor with rich.  – From the Asian Age

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