In an attempt to respond to the questions that are getting aroused on the first year completion of Modi Government, FICCI corporate lobby came forward in defense of Modi Government and presented a report highlighting the main achievements of the government. FICCI sought to silence the critics of the Modi Government who are touting its pro-investment, pro-growth and pro-employment policies as ‘pro-industry’ as if business-friendly policies are against the common man and national interest.
Presenting a report card on the completion of one year of the new government at the Centre, Dr. Jyotsna Suri, President of FICCI, told media persons here that “The main achievement of the government in the past year is the creation of a positive business sentiment, restoration of investor confidence and establishment of ‘Brand India’, by framing policies that rest on transparency and fairness.”
Besides Dr. Suri, the press conference was addressed by Mr. Sidharth Birla, Immediate Past President, FICCI; Mr. R V Kanoria, Past President, FICCI; Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai, Past President, FICCI; Mr. Rajan Bharti Mittal, Past President, FICCIand Mr. Sanjay Bhatia, Senior Executive Committee Member and President, FICCI-CMSME.
Terming the government’s pro-industry label as “pure rhetoric”, Dr. Suri said that without growth it would be impossible to provide jobs to the 23 million young people who descend in the job market every month. The slowing down of rural and urban demand was a cause for concern, she said that government spending on infrastructure projects must rise significantly to fuel the industrial economy.
Dr. Suri said that no government at the Centre has worked so hard in one year to reverse the spiral of negativity and brought in policies that will spur demand and growth in the very near future. FICCI, however, believes that the government should now focus on raising farm productivity and formulate a water policy that ensures efficient and fair distribution of water for agriculture, industrial and domestic consumption.
On the question of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in the infrastructure sector, FICCI said that infrastructure-related companies are over leveraged and would be unfair to bundle such projects which have accumulated NPAs due to fraud and other corporate malpractices. There is a need to sort out regulatory issues and unless that is done credit off take will not pick up.
On the tourism front, the government’s e-visa initiative has seen huge upsurge in demand, said Dr. Suri and added that the ‘Incredible India’ needs to be revisited to building tourism-related infrastructure to meet the needs of inbound travelers.
FICCI is encouraged by the policy direction and tone set by the new government. While the government has laid a strong foundation for sustainable higher growth by laying out a sound roadmap, implementing the same in true spirit remains the key challenge. Private investments need a further push to gain momentum, which can be achieved through timely implementation of GST, clearance of land related hurdles, absolute clarity in tax policies, reduction in interest rates and stimulating consumer demand. We are hopeful that the government will focus on accomplishing the work-in-progress agenda through continuous policy action and reforms.
Dr. Suri emphasized that several reform measures have been initiated by the government and this year’s Union Budget has set a highly progressive agenda to unleash India’s economic potential. Policy measures have been taken up across a wide spectrum including infrastructure, labour, land, energy, skill development, agriculture, financial inclusion as well as social issues like sanitation. At the same time, government is making efforts to create a conducive business environment based on a simplified, transparent and competitive tax regime. Further, the regulatory structure is being revamped to bring efficiency and transparency in decision making and to build the trust and confidence amongst investors.
She said that a slew of legislative and executive actions have been undertaken to create an enabling environment for growth of enterprises. Alongside amendments to three major labour laws, government has initiated steps for bringing transparency and accountability in compliances of labour laws. With amendments to the Coal and the Mines & Minerals Act, the government has paved way for an era of competition, efficiency and transparency for key natural resources by fostering fair play through market forces. The government has also taken steps to ease difficulties in land acquisition and though the issue is still being debated in the Parliament, we hope that a pragmatic solution will soon follow.