Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that reforms will be fruitful only if they succeed in impacting the lives of citizens for the better.
"True reforms are those which result in transformation in the lives of citizens," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while speaking at the ET Global Business Summit in New Delhi.
"We have to improve the use of our natural and human resources, to increase the value addition we can get from them. We should create new opportunities for citizens to progress and also give them a choice of opportunities. Opportunity is like oxygen to the aspirational citizen and we are keen that this is never in short supply," Modi said.
He drew attention to the fact that unless the quality of life of the poor is improved all steps taken towards creating a better life would be futile.
"We have to increase the quality of life of the common citizen and even more so, the quality of life of the poor. If a government is progressive, and runs an honest and efficient administration, the biggest beneficiaries are the poor. Poor governance hurts the poor more than it hurts others," the prime minister said.
"I believe in the politics of empowerment. I believe in empowering the people to improve their own lives. We need to value enterprise and hard work, not wealth. Creating opportunities for cities and towns to grow is very crucial. Urban areas are an engine of growth," he said.
The prime minister took the opportunity to reject that the criticism that the government policies ere more of populist nature.
"If our policies are studied closely, you will find that many are popular, but none are populist. Every one of the changes we have made is in the direction of good governance and rationality.... When the power of the people is with us, hard challenges become huge opportunities," he said.
Modi said that all steps taken with regards to the country's economy must have a positive global impact.
"India’s policies must be such that they make a positive contribution to the rest of the world. For the last four quarters, India has been the fastest growing large economy in the world. FDI in India has increased by 39 percent in the last 18 months, at a time when global FDI has fallen," he said.
Emphasizing India's commitment towards preserving the climate, the prime minister said, "Protecting our planet from climate change is one of the most important tasks for this generation. We are committed to reducing the emission intensity of our GDP by 33 percent by 2030 even while growing at a fast pace."
Giving a gist of the experience of the government in handling the economy, Modi said, "Since this government took office, growth increased and inflation decreased. Foreign investment has increased and fiscal deficit decreased."
He also highlighted the achievements that his government witnessed so far till the last year.
"India’s highest ever urea fertiliser production was achieved in 2015. India’s highest ever production of ethanol as blended fuel, benefiting sugar cane farmers, was in 2015. he highest number of new cooking gas connections to the rural poor was achieved in 2015. India’s highest ever output of coal was achieved in 2015. Shipping Corporation of India which made a loss of Rs 275 crore in 2013-14 made a profit of Rs 201 crore in 2014-15," the prime minister said.
Seeking attention to the efforts that his government is taking to weed out graft at all levels, Modi said, "We have taken numerous steps which have transformative potential. We have ended the era of high level corruption."
In course of his speech, the prime minister also referred to the benefits of Direct Cash Transfer as it helped in cutting down illegal LPG connections. "Was pleasantly surprised to see a noteworthy reduction in leakage, simply by eliminating those who were double counted and ineligible," he said. "My aim is not to eliminate subsidies but to rationalize and target them."
Pointing towards the government's moves on easing business environment and cutting down red-tapism, Modi said, "Our country suffers from an excess of old and unnecessary laws which obstruct people and businesses. In less than two years, we have taken India to the top of global league tables of foreign investment and growth."