New Delhi: Reiterating that his government is fully committed to promoting 'ease of doing business and ensuring robust economic growth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said it has taken several "affirmative actions" in the last four years in this direction.
"Over the last four years, my government has consciously and diligently worked on several fronts to resolve issues being faced by the economy. It is because of these efforts that our economy is today growing at a rate of over 7.5 per cent, the highest among major economies," Modi said in an interview to the Times of India published on Sunday.
He said that while the government encourages 'ease of doing business', it is unsparing in bringing "unscrupulous elements" to book. The Prime Minister also listed the "unprecedented" reforms his government initiated in terms of disinvestment and taxation.
"The emphasis is on simplifying processes, be it incorporation of a company, induction of a director, or payment of income tax or GST. In the World Bank ranking on Ease of Doing Business, India has moved up from 142 to 100, proving we are an enabling environment for companies," Modi said.
He said his government has taken a "major decision" to change its approach towards central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) for "efficient management of public assets, unlocking wealth to the shareholders and creating wealth for the public".
"New instruments for disinvestment include listing of CPSEs through IPOs (initial public offering), mergers and acquisitions of CPSEs, and listing of exchange traded funds (ETFs). Since 2014, government has realized over Rs 2 lakh crore from disinvestment of PSEs. In 2017-18, government realized a record Rs 1 lakh crore.
"This can be compared to the performance of the preceding 10 years (2004-05 to 2013-14) during which the cumulative collection was Rs 1.08 lakh crore. We have realized double the amount in less than half the period," Modi said.
The Prime Minister pointed out that on the direct tax front, income tax return forms have been rationalized to make them taxpayer-friendly and the income tax department has eased norms for scrutiny of assessments. The first slab of income tax up to Rs 5 lakh has been reduced from 10 per cent to 5 per cent for non-corporate tax payers.
"For the law-abiding, the procedures and processes are being simplified; for the unscrupulous there is no escape. As part of our mission against black money and corruption, my government has struck off the names of around 2.6 lakh shell companies and 3.09 lakh directors. Names of 55,000 companies more will be struck off this month," the Prime Minister said.
On the measures to revive the banking sector that is reeling under massive non-performing assets (NPAs), Modi said in order to create a "clean and effective" recovery system, his government enacted the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) besides amending the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, to authorize RBI to direct banks to take recourse to IBC route.
He said that to strengthen the PSBs, government has, after initial infusion of Rs 70,000 crore under Indradhanush plan, again announced recapitalization of Rs 2.11 lakh crore in October 2017.