In his interview to The Economic Times, Shri Narendra Modi spoke on FDI policy and retail FDI, apart from sharing his views on protecting investor sentiment and maintaining policy continuity.
Excerpts from the interview -
If you win, you will inherit a sickly economy. A new government will have short-term pressures to lift investor mood and medium-term pressure to lift actual investment. What are your plans for these most critical areas?
I agree that the new government will inherit an economy in a very bad shape. I do not know whether it was by design that the UPA government has left the economy in a shape that is worse than ever before.
Probably, it is the Congress’ way of making it difficult for successor governments to work. The NDA government had demitted office in 2004 leaving the GDP growth rate in excess of 8.5%. India was poised to attain double digit growth rate and the economy looked in great shape with inflation being under control. UPA has mismanaged the economy.
When UPA is going out of power, the GDP growth rate has gone down to 4.5%, inflation is at an all-time high and the mood is of pessimism.
As far as perception-related issues are concerned, thankfully we have our track record to fall back upon. Therefore, it would be much easier to handle perception-related issues. We will have to immediately get on the job and come out of the present state of policy paralysis and lack of decision-making.
We are very clear that we want a government that does not shy away from taking decisions. We would like a stable policy framework and whatever incentives and tax structures are there should be made known to investors upfront. There should be credibility, clarity and continuity in both policy formulation and its implementation.
You are perceived to be investor-friendly. However, your party is opposed to big reforms such as FDI in multi-brand retail. Don’t you think this will depress foreign investor sentiments? What happens to companies like Tesco, whose JV with the Tatas has already been approved by the Centre?
While we have expressed our reservations on FDI in multi-brand retail, our party manifesto is very clear that we welcome FDI in all sectors. Wherever we think that FDI can help in generating jobs for the youth and growth in employment, we will encourage the same. As regards individual cases, any decision will depend upon the merits of the case as revealed by its details.
However, we are equally committed to take care of investor sentiments and to ensure that we do not send any message of uncertainty and lack of continuity in decision-making process which is likely to adversely impact the confidence of investors in general and foreign investors in particular.
You have said you don’t believe in 100 days performance targets. But first perceptions are important. How do you plan to make your first perception?
I don’t think with my own track record of more than 12 years as the chief minister of a strong and vibrant state and the track record of the six years of NDA rule, I am under much of a pressure of perception management.
Central policy has many stakeholders and vested interests. What are your plans to tackle this, do you have any fundamental reform in mind? You have said there has to be a Team India, one office can’t run the country — how will you create that Team India?
I think the Team India is already there. As a chief minister, I have experienced first hand the problems that the state governments face vis-a-vis the Centre. I fully understand the expectations of the state governments. Thus, I am better placed to work closely with the chief ministers.
I also believe in delegation, decentralisation and empowerment. We should work with the principle that a work that can be done at a lower level should never be escalated to a higher level.
On land issues, the Centre has much less freedom — will you make a special effort to clear up the land for industry? If so, how?
As of now, it is the states who are taking the lead in implementation of projects and bringing about growth and development. The Centre in the last 10 years has only ended up delaying projects on one or the other pretext. Apart from an all-pervasive policy paralysis coupled with a lack of decision-making ability, it has also been large-scale corruption in the guise of environment protection which has been responsible for project delays. If the Centre can become a facilitator, then a healthy competition between the states is going to take care of issues related to project implementation.
Courtesy: The Economic Times
Article source: http://www.narendramodi.in/ready-to-work-with-congress-on-fdi-policy-continuity-top-priority-narendra-modi/