Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says that compared to the situation two years back and in the current global context, India is doing a lot better on all fronts, especially on the key economic parameters, however, there is scope to do better. The Finance Minister was speaking at the Conference on “Make in India: The New Deal” in New York yesterday, organized by CII and the Asia Society Policy Institute.
Referring to the spate of reforms happening in India, the Finance Minister said that structural changes are underway in India, which would place the economy and the country on a stronger footing as one of the leading economies of the world. He further added that India has moved from being the state of policy paralysis to the economic bright spot of the world
Jaitley referred in particular to the key reforms including opening-up FDI in multiple sectors; reduction in the corporate tax rate, movement on GST, lowering of interest rates as well as process reforms with an emphasis on ease of doing business that can help decrease transaction costs. He mentioned about the huge resource allocation in infrastructure development particularly for national highways, roads, railway stations, airports and seaports will also help unleash economic activity in these capital intensive sectors. In addition, Shri Jaitley gave renewed emphasis on infrastructure development in rural areas, rationalization of government support subsidies, and so forth will further help reduce stresses on the economic fundamentals in the country.
Ultimately, all these initiatives are geared towards helping the Indian economy focus on value added manufacturing which is at the heart of ‘Make in India’, the Finance Minister added.
He also pointed-out that for the first time, the discourse about reforms is changing in India with a larger constituency being in support rather than against. In addition, the Finance Minister said that factors such as constructive competition amongst states is a very positive factor that is fuelling interest from both domestic and private enterprises.
Speaking earlier on the session, Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance pointed-out that India was becoming more competitive – not owing to labour cost arbitrage but owing to lower costs of capital, lower taxes and lower logistics costs, etc.
Arun Kumar Singh, Indian Ambassador to the US, spoke about the fact that economic security and strategic partnership have become integral part of the bilateral relationship between India and the US. He also highlighted the US investments in India have been to the tune of USD 28 billion and likewise Indian companies have invested USD 15 billion in the US and created over a hundred thousand jobs.
The event was co-chaired by Mr Kevin Rudd, President, Asia Society Policy Institute and Dr Naushad Forbes, President, CII.