A “different India” is ready to benefit from a strong global economic recovery after a series of reforms including demonetisation, goods and services tax, easing of regulations and procedures, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said. In first public appearance at the IMF headquarters here after his arrival in the city, Jaitley echoed International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who have said that the world is experiencing a strong economic recovery. “After several years of disappointing growth, the global economy has begun to accelerate,” Kim told reporters earlier. In a separate news conference, Lagarde later said she expects higher global growth this year and next. By all indications there is a “more positive mood around the world” as far as economy is concerned, Jaitley said while participating in a seminar at the IMF headquarters organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
“Obviously as an economy which is globally integrated, if world economy moves on consequential impact on demand, the Indian economy would also follow. And I do see, that as one of the various reasons why in the coming months and years India economy is also probably destined to move up,” he said, while admitting that the last three years had been extremely difficult.
India, he argued, now offers bright opportunities. “The first factor in the opportunity is do we allow people to come in. Obviously as a country which has realised the virtues of more investment into the country, we have systematically liberalised our policy over the years and probably one of the more liberal economies in the world,” he said, adding not only India has liberalised, it has also made the procedures of entry very simple. “But it is also a harsh reality that merely we have a door wide open that’s not enough for people to enter. When they enter they must feel more comfortable. And they may feel that India is an extremely comfortable place to do business with,” the finance minister said. Noting that there are more factors that stand out, he said, “And in that sense, it is a different India.”
The first is irrespective of the federal and multi-party character of India there is now a feeling both in the center and different state governments, without exception, that each one wants investment to come to his or her state, he said. Therefore, each one is bent upon creating an environment which is more friendly, he added. “This augurs quite well for an opportunity in India,” he noted. Secondly, India has cut short most of its procedures. And as ease of doing business year after year indicated, land and building is one area where India needs to improve, he said. Jaitley said a lot of state government are putting their house in order and the government desecration have substantially ended.
“This has brought down if not eliminated the stigma of corruption which was once a stigma to India,” Jaitley said, adding that people have now realised that India in many parts is much cleaner place to do business. That itself adds to the opportunity of doing business in India. And then comes the factors of great availability of human resources in India, a large market in India and the ability of India to reform, the minister observed. He said after coming to power, the Modi government has taken a series of steps to integrate the formal with the formal, to assault the shadow economy, and then take all consequential steps one after the other all aimed in one direction to expand India into a far, cleaner, bigger and better economy.
This was one of the objects of the series of reforms that culminated in demonetisation itself, he said. GST experience has shown that governments in the center and the state are willing to take steps, Jaitley said. Considering these sets of reforms there is a huge amount of opportunity in various sectors of Indian economy like the infrastructure sector, he added. “I think there is a huge amount of opportunity as far as India is concerned,” he said. “It’s quite comforting for us to find that investors view India as a country where they see a lot of activity going on,” Jaitley added.