Have undertaken maximum reforms, enormous task still ahead Says PM ModiModi

BN-EQ259_imodi_G_20140921022833NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre has taken a series of initiatives to open up the economy for foreign investment and made it easier to do business in the country, since assuming office two years back after a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections.

In an interview to Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Editor-in-Chief, Gerard Baker, on the eve of his two years in office, Prime Minister Modi said that the Centre has laid a roadmap for progressive growth and put the onus on the states to utilise it to embark on a path of accelerated growth.

He said several initiatives have been taken to curtail corruption and fill gaps in rural infrastructure. “I have actually undertaken the maximum reforms…I have an enormous task ahead for myself,” the WSJ quoted Prime Minister Modi as saying.

Prime Minister also asserted that he expects Goods and Services Tax Bill, a major reform measure aimed at replacing a web of varying state taxes will be passed this year. The bill has been stuck in the Rajya Sabha in Parliament, where the government is in a minority. He also commented that today, unlike before, India is not standing in a corner.
The interview comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to washington early next month,where he is to meet President Barack Obama and address a joint session of the US Congress.

According to the WSJ, the Prime Minister Modi-led government’s Land Acquisition Bill aimed at making it easier to acquire farmland for industry and infrastructure was vehemently criticised by the opposition parties, which deemed it as anti-poor and led protests across the country.

The Prime Minister was also quoted as saying that efforts to amend the law at the Central level were over and it was, now, up to the states to pursue the changes. He said liberalization of the country’s rigid labor laws were vital, adding that it should be done ‘in the interest of the laborer’ and not just in ‘the interest of industry’.

The Prime Minister said that the public sector can’t be done away with as it plays a key role in the development of a nation. “In any developing country in the world, both the public sector and the private sector have a very important role to play. You can’t suddenly get rid of the public sector, nor should you,” Prime Minister Modi told WSJ in an interview at his 7 RCR residence.

The WSJ said that Modi Government’s ambitious Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, aimed at providing major impetus to the economy by replacing myriad state tax legislations with a uniform business-friendly rules, met with a hurdle in the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP lacks majority.

The leading US-based business daily quoted the Prime Minister as saying that he expects the legislation to pass this year.

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