Hailing PM Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move as a bold one, Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Wednesday said that it is an important step to move away from the shadow economy to a more transparent economy. According to a TOI report, Gates said digital transactions would rise dramatically, and, in the next several years, India would become one of the most digitised economies not just by size, but percentage as well. He urged the government to take steps to ease the expansion of its vast internal market by investing in infrastructure, building efficient markets, addressing land and labour issues, and streamlining tariffs and taxes. “It is fantastic that you took steps to change the GST, but that is just the beginning,” he told TOI.
“The world is looking to India not just to solve its problems but to address global challenges through innovation,” Gates said, delivering a speech for the ‘NITI-Lectures series: Transforming India’ in the presence of PM Narendra Modi and his Cabinet colleagues. Lauding the government’s Aadhaar, Startup India, and Swachh Bharat initiatives, Gates said that India was trying to do what had never been done before. He said India had a government that was committed to solving its big problems. Pointing out the Digital India and MyGov initiatives, he said much more could be done to streamline the delivery of public services by investing in the digital infrastructure that enables better planning, performance monitoring, and grievance redressal. Ending his speech, Gates said, “Ye hai mere mann ki baat.”
Pointing out that India had the largest number of stunted children in the world – 44 million children under the age of 5 – he said that while there were states that had made great progress, there were some regions where malnutrition was the norm, not the exception. Gates argued that besides the huge toll malnutrition took on children, it was also harmful to the economy if left unaddressed.