By Jaideep Sarin
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that his government was trying to revive the economy, and told global investors that India today was a land of opportunities.
“In a short span of seven months, we have been able to change the atmosphere of despair and uncertainty,” Modi told the seventh Vibrant Gujarat summit here attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as ministers and corporate leaders from 100 countries.
“Since the first day, my government is actively working to revive the economy,” he told the gathering which included US Secretary of State John Kerry and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.
He said there was tremendous interest in India, and “countries were coming forward to work with us. Today, India is a land of opportunities”.
He urged countries, businesses and investors to be part of India’s growth story.
“There is an atmosphere of cooperation towards India. We are trying to generate confidence for investment in the country.
“My government is committed to create a policy environment that is predictable, transparent and fair.”
Modi went on: “We will have to change the way we have been approaching problems. Recession is often seen just in the context of business and industry.
“Have we ever thought of recession as being the result of low per capita income in countries where a majority of global population lives?
“Have we ever thought of its solution in terms of enhancing the common man’s employability, income and purchasing power?
“The best outcome of this event should be inclusiveness and involvement of communities needing care and development.”
The prime minister said his government was committed to changing and improving the economic and social condition of India including the quality of life.
“We want to promote co-operative federalism in the country. At the same time, we want a competitive element among the states.
“I call this new form of federalism co-operative and competitive federalism.”
Visibly happy at the presence of global personalities and business leaders at the summit, Modi said: “This event is perhaps the biggest gathering on earth where a budding entrepreneur has opportunity to see the president of the World Bank.
“And where a young farmer can listen to the views of the UN secretary general on issues like food security.
“Your (world leaders’) presence today has enhanced the enterprising streak of 60 million Gujaratis and has boosted the morale of 1.2 billion Indians,” he added.
Speaking dominantly in English, Modi said: “We are here as a family, not only in terms of space, but because we recognise that someone’s dream is dependent on someone’s direction.
“The ultimate objective is welfare of all… All of us want planet earth to become a better place to live…”
Modi refuted criticism that he was just making populist announcements.
“We are not only making commitments and announcements. But, we are backing them up with concrete action at the level of policy and action,” Modi said at the Mahatma Mandir complex here.
Citing examples, Modi said that opening of 100 million bank accounts in just four months, allowing 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in railways, allowing 49 percent FDI in defence sector and 49 percent FDI in insurance sector were some of the steps taken by his government after coming to power May last year.
“Sometimes it appears that Modi is hyping up things. We do this to force us in the government to make faster corrections,” he pointed out.
“Let us join hands! Let us work together for progress, prosperity and peace.”