Impossible is Now Possible in India : PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address at the Global Business Summit 2019, pitched his government’s work as an effort to align India to the path of becoming a $10 trillion economy, asserting that India today is a country where namumkin ab mumkin hai (the impossible is now possible).

In keeping with his campaign pitch for another term, Modi said that this effort stood out in stark contrast to the sentiment prevalent in the previous Congress-led UPA government where the only competition was over corruption.

The prime minister emphasised that his government had fostered “competition on development” which is finding expression in many spheres. “Since 2014, we’re witnessing various forms of competition. A competition between ministries, a competition between states — a competition on development, a completion on achieving targets.”

Taking a dig at the previous UPA government, Modi said: “Before 2014 also, we heard about a competition, although of a different kind. A competition between ministries, a competition between individuals — a competition on corruption, a competition on who can do the fastest corruption. I’ll leave it to you to decide which form of competition you would prefer.”

The PM reminded the galaxy of business leaders in the audience of the many cases of corruption that surfaced during the terms of the UPA — from coal to spectrum, from Commonwealth Games to defence deals. “We also know who were the main players involved in this competition (of corruption),” he said.

Modi said his term as prime minister has seen the highest rate of average growth and the lowest rate of average inflation in India during the period of any government since the liberalisation of the economy in 1991.

In the 2014-19 period, the PM said, the country would register an average growth of 7.4% and the average inflation would be less than 4.5%. “Post-liberalisation, this will be the highest rate of average growth and the lowest rate of average inflation witnessed during the period of any government.”

In doing so, the prime minister said, his government has challenged the notion that a developing economy cannot grow at high rate for a long period without facing the problem of inflation.

“Post-liberalisation, almost all the governments formed in our country had to face this problem — what many experts call overheating of an economy after a short period of growth. As a result of this, we never had sustainable higher rate of growth,” said Modi, speaking of previous governments.

Even during the 1991-96 government, the PM said, average growth was about 5% but average inflation was more than 10%. “The government just before us — between 2009 and 2014 — had an average growth of about 6.5% with an average inflation again in double digits.”

He went on to claim that his government had reversed the narrative that certain things are just impossible in India. “The progress our nation has achieved since 2014 gives me confidence that nothing is impossible for 130 crore Indians.”

Elaborating on this, Modi said that at one point, it was considered impossible to have a corruption-free government but people of India made it possible.

“It was said that economic reforms in India were impossible but people of India are making it possible. It was said that governments cannot be progrowth and pro-poor at the same time but people of India are making it possible,” the PM said.

Essentially, the PM said, the country had moved away from the “A, B, C mentality — that is A for avoiding, B for burying and C for confusing”. This approach, according to the PM, was turned on its head by his government.

“Instead of avoiding an issue, we dealt with the issue; instead of burying it, we dug it out and communicated it to the people; and instead of confusing the system, we demonstrated that a solution is possible,” he said.

The PM did not pull his punches in an election year as he asked the large business audience to recall the situation prior to 2014.

“Who would know better than all of you present here about the challenges the country was facing during the second half of 2013 and early 2014? Runaway inflation was breaking the back of every household. Increasing current account deficit and higher fiscal deficit were threatening the macroeconomic stability of the country. All these parameters were indicating a gloomy future. The country was facing total policy paralysis. This was preventing the economy from reaching the level which it was worthy of.”

There was a perception of surrender to existing circumstances, Modi said at the summit, adding: “Four years ago, who would have believed that ₹3 lakh crore would be returned by defaulting borrowers to financial and operational creditors? This is the impact of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.”

He said that after 2014, “hesitations have been replaced by hope; obstacles have been replaced by optimism and issues have been replaced by initiatives.”

The PM pointed to India making significant improvements in almost all international rankings and indices which represent how the world’s perception about the country is changing.

“I’m aware that there are some who cannot appreciate this rapid improvement. They suggest that rankings only improve things on paper, but nothing changes on the ground. I think this is far from the truth. Rankings are mostly lagging indicators. Things change on the ground first but reflect in rankings after a time lag,” the PM said.

He cited the example of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings where India’s position has improved from 142 to a historic high of 77. “But the change in rankings has been preceded by improvement in the situation on the ground.”

He said the Indian economy has expanded the bouquet of its financing resources and was no more dependent on bank credit for investment needs.

“From 2011-12 to 2013-14, the average amount of fund raised through equity was about ₹14,000 crore per annum. In the last four years, this average is about ₹43,000 crore per annum. This is almost three times,” the PM said.

He also said that the total amount raised by Alternative Investment Funds from 2011 to 2014 was less than ₹4,000 crore but from 2014 to 2018, the AIFs raised more than ₹81,000 crore.

The PM said his government has worked with the ambition of making India a $10 trillion economy and the third largest economy of the world.

“We want to make an India of countless startups. We want to give our people energy security. We want to cut down on import dependence… make India a world leader in electric vehicles and energy storage devices… to create a new India of our dreams,” the PM said.

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