Narendra Modi mocks critics, says govt not denying economic slowdown, but committed to reversing trend

By FP Staff

Company secretaries guide India's corporate culture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing them at the inauguration of golden jubilee year of the Institute of Company Secretaries on Wednesday. "It is you who determines corporate culture and it is the duty of your organisation to show the right path to the people," Modi said while adding that the government has worked to institutionalise systemic honesty.

According to NDTV, in an over hour-long speech, punctuated with sharp comments and comparisons with the track record of the previous UPA I and UPA II regimes, Modi told the gathering of company secretaries that his government will continue the reforms and will not hesitate to take decision to reverse the GDP slowdown witnessed in the last two quarters.

"I will not jeopardise the future of the country for my present gains," he said, adding that the government would focus on structural reforms rather than giving doles to win praises.

Enlisting the achievements of the NDA government, Modi said that his government has fought against corruption right from day one by forming a special investigation team on black money right in its first meeting.

Modi said that the previous UPA governments did not have the courage to approve demonetisation or GST, but his government did it, adding, "I have asked (the) GST Council to review the bottlenecks and technological hindrances."

The prime minister added that the government is ready for changes to ease any bottlenecks on the new tax regime completing three months, and train one lakh people about GST regulations.

#WATCH Live: PM addresses Company Secretaries at inauguration of Golden Jubilee Year of ICSI in Delhi https://t.co/3mo97GEPcV pic.twitter.com/tzuhTETsIe

— ANI (@ANI) October 4, 2017

RBI has predicted 7.7% growth in the coming quarters: PM Narendra Modi in Delhi pic.twitter.com/1Vtth1abUW — ANI (@ANI) October 4, 2017

After achieving average growth of 7.5% over 3 years, we accept that growth rates came down April-June but govt is committed to reverse it-PM pic.twitter.com/wtSZkXlvwA — ANI (@ANI) October 4, 2017

Reacting to critics of the NDA government's economic policies, the prime minister said, "The result of our relentless labour is that the country's economy is running with fewer cash transactions. The cash to GDP ratio has come down from 12 percent to nine percent after demonetisation."

However, he said that low GDP in one quarter is not that important. "The dip in economic growth in one quarter has boosted pessimists; these are people who revel in disappointment," Modi said evoking laughter from his audience.

File image of Narendra Modi. PTI

"Some people had started saying that the way we had implemented GST was incorrect, and that caused economic slowdown.... But today when people are discussing this, I want to say that India was part of a group of countries called the fragile five. How did it happen when big economists were there?" Modi asked.

The fundamentals of Indian economy are strong and the reform process will continue keeping financial stability in mind, the prime minister added.

"GDP growth dipped to 5.7 percent or below eight times during the UPA regime when the nation was faced with high inflation, CAD, and fiscal deficit. Inflation was more than GDP growth during the previous regime when high price rise, fiscal deficit, and CAD made headlines. Double-digit inflation has come down to less than three percent, CAD brought down to 2.5 percent, fiscal deficit reduced to 3.5 percent," Modi claimed.

Assuring his audience, Modi said decisions of the govt will take the country to the next league.

"In the past three years, after registering a growth of over seven percent, we suffered economic slowdown and we are not denying that. But we also want to tell you that we are equipped to deal with the issue," Modi said.

Modi made comments days after senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha in an article headlined, "I need to speak up now", described the economy as a "mess" that will not resuscitate before the next general elections. On a similar note, Arun Shourie had termed demonetisation the "largest money laundering scheme ever" and an "idiotic jolt" to the Indian economy.

"Government is committed to reverse this trend...we are capable of that and ready to take decisions," Modi said, adding the decisions taken by the government will take India to a new growth trajectory.

On demonetisation, Modi said that the government made strict rules against black money and it has been a great success. "Hoarding black money is not easy now," he added. Post note ban, the registration of 2.10 lakh companies out of 3 lakh suspicious firms identified, has been cancelled, he informed.

Enlisting the growth in the economy further, the prime minister said, "The number of air passengers has gone up by 14 percent in the past two months. The sale of telephones has also seen a growth of 14 percent and the sale of tractors has gone up by 34 percent. This happens when the people have faith in the government and they know that the economic condition of the country is sound."

"Today, financing is not limited to banks so you can clearly see the difference our government has made in three years," Modi said.

With inputs from PTI