With slew of measures putting back the economy on track, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said reforms are “just a way station” to transforming India and vowed to provide a transparent and predictable tax regime as well as protection to Intellectual Property Rights.
Speaking at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit here, he said government actions in the past 18 months have led to bringing down inflation while at the same time leading to higher GDP growth and foreign investment. “Reform is not an end in itself.
Reform for me is just a way station on the long journey to the destination. The destination is the transformation of India,” he said. When the BJP-led government took office in May 2014, the economy faced serious challenges in high fiscal and current account deficit, stalled infrastructure projects and persistent inflation.
“It was obvious that reforms were needed. We asked ourselves the question Reforms for what? What is the aim of reform? Is it just to increase the measured rate of GDP growth? Or is it to bring about a transformation in society? My answer is clear: we must ‘reform to transform’,” he said.
The fruits of development have to be taken to the margins of geography and to the bottom of demography.
“We have to touch lives, while reaching for the sky,” he said. Action during the last 18 months has ensured that “GDP growth is up and inflation is down, foreign investment is up and the current account deficit is down, tax revenues are up and interest rates are down, thee fiscal deficit is down and the rupee is stable,” Modi said.
Stating that a series of concerted steps including structural and institutional reforms have initiated, the Prime Minister said the government was “moving fast” to make sure tax regime is transparent and predictable where genuine investors and honest tax payers get quick and fair decisions.
“Going further, I want to assure you that India is committed to protect Intellectual Property Rights of all innovators. We have taken several initiatives for transparency and online processing in IP administration. A comprehensive National IPR policy is expected by the end of the year,” he said.
“To re-vitalise the flow of investments, the second wave of structural and financial reforms have been launched. “We are trying to further open up the economy and introduce an element of predictability and stability in taxation system,” he said.
While productive public investment has been substantially increased, carbon taxes on fossil fuels has been imposed to show India’s commitment to climate change.