The government has put the derailed economy back on track, contained inflation and improved investor confidence in the last one year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today while promising to do more in the coming days to meet “high expectations” of people.
“This positive outlook is endorsed by major rating agencies and international institutions across the world,” he said in an open letter to citizens on achievements of his government on the economic front in the last one year.”Economic growth has been revived, and (India) is amongst the fastest in the world. Inflation is substantially down. Fiscal prudence has been restored. Confidence is up. Foreign investments have increased.
The government, he said, has implemented the pending “bold reforms” like decontrol of diesel, raising Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit on insurance and defence and is moving ahead to roll out the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
“One year ago, you had entrusted me with the task of building a new India and putting a derailed economy back on track. We have achieved a lot,” he said, adding “this is just the beginning. There is much more to be done and I know your expectations are high.”
The Indian economy is expected to grow at over 8 percent in the current fiscal, up from 7.4 percent in 2014-15. The fiscal deficit is budgeted to come down to 3.9 percent of the GDP this fiscal, from 4 percent a year ago.
“Bold reforms pending for decades have been implemented,” Modi said, stressing that the benefits of growth should reach all sections of society, especially poor, farmers and women.
“Economic growth benefits all Indians. Growth, however, has meaning only if it empowers the poor, farmers, women, as well as middle and neo-middle classes of all communities. To enable us to continue paying remunerative prices to our farmers, we secured a permanent ‘peace clause’ at the WTO,” he said.
He further said that through a financial inclusion drive a record 15 crore plus bank accounts have been opened and deposits of over Rs 15,800 crore mobilised.
An affordable social security system including pension, life insurance and accident insurance has already witnessed 6.75 crore enrolments in its first week, he added.
MUDRA has been set up with a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore to help small businessmen, who despite being the biggest job creators have historically been starved of credit, he said.
In order to combat the menace of black money, the prime minister said, the government has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and successfully piloted a new stringent law in Parliament.
Parliament recently passed the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Bill, 2015, which provides for a steep 120 percent of tax and penalty on undisclosed foreign assets and income besides a jail term of up to 10 years to deal with black money stashed abroad.
The government, Modi said, is focusing on ease of doing business and working through ‘Make in India’ initiative to create new jobs.
The other initiatives of the government include transferring cooking gas subsidies directly into the bank
accounts to ensure that “right amount of subsidy, reaches the right people, at the right time.”
Besides increasing the FDI limits in insurance, railways and defence production, Modi said, “we have embraced the states as equal partners in national development, working as Team India in the spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism.”
Political interference in public sector banking decisions is a thing of the past, he said, adding “transparent coal auctions and allotments have mobilised potential revenues of Rs 3.35 lakh crore to coal-bearing states over the lifespan of mines. And reform in the Mines Act has replaced a discretionary mechanism with a transparent auction process.”
Modi said nearly Rs 1 lakh crore of public investment has been allocated in this year’s budget to improve physical as well as digital connectivity.
“A comprehensive transformation of the railways into a locomotive of growth has begun. Stalled highway projects are being restructured and revived. Power generation is at an all-time high. A new National Infrastructure Investment Fund has been set up with an annual government funding of Rs 20,000 crore,” he said.