New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed credit for undertaking the most reforms of any Indian government in recent times and for making India a player of note on the global stage.
“Today, unlike before, India is not standing in a corner,” Mr. Modi said on Wednesday in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on the eve of his government’s second anniversary.
The PM also told the American newspaper that since he took over, India is playing a more prominent role in global affairs, with ever-stronger links with the US.
Speaking at length about reform in India, PM Modi said he “set a path for accelerated growth that the states now need to help navigate.”
“I have actually undertaken the maximum reforms,” Mr. Modi said while also acknowledging that he has “an enormous task ahead” for himself.
The Prime Minister said he’s opened up more of the economy to foreign investment, made changes to curb corruption, filled gaps in rural infrastructure and made it easier to do business.
The PM also said that he expects the ambitious Goods and Services Tax Bill to pass this year.
PM Modi laid stress on the middle path for reforms and expressed reluctance to sell state-owned enterprises, because he believes they play an important role in the economy. Still, he pointed to progress in divesting the government’s minority stakes in them and in increasing the participation of private companies in sectors once dominated by the state.
“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,” he said.
On labour laws, the Prime Minister said that efforts to amend them at the Centre are “over now,” and said it’s up to individual states to pursue changes.
Modi said he would look to states to further liberalize the country’s rigid labour laws, another area seen as crucial and contentious.
“Labour reform should not just mean in the interest of industry,” PM Modi said, adding, “Labour reform should also be in the interest of the labourer.”