New Delhi(PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the economy has performed better on all parameters including inflation and foreign investment in the past 17 months and stressed on inclusive reforms that improve people’s lives and not just grab headlines.
He also said the government’s efforts to bring back black money stashed abroad have yielded as much as Rs 10,500 crore.
“India is doing better than when we took office 17 months ago. GDP growth is up and inflation is down, foreign investment is up and current account deficit (CAD) is down, revenues are up…the fiscal deficit is down and the rupee is stable. Obviously, this did not happen by accident…This success is a result of a series of well thought policies,” he said.
Terming reforms to transform India as “a marathon and not a sprint”, Modi said such measures should aim at improving the lives of people.
“My appeal to all of you is to think beyond conventional remedies.We should not limit our ideas of reforms to few standard notions.Our idea of reform should be inclusive and broad based. The goal of reform is not better headlines in the big papers but better lives for our people,” he said while inaugurating the Delhi Economics Conclave 2015, which is being attended by economists from India and abroad.
The Prime Minister further said government’s JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile) initiatives were all about “achieving maximum values for every rupee spent, maximum empowerment and maximum technology penetration among the masses.”
On the various macro-economic initiatives of the government, Modi said, “We have embarked on a course of fiscal consolidation. We have entered for the first time into a monetary framework agreement with the Reserve Bank to curb inflation.”
As regards the corruption issue, the Prime Minister said the government has taken “decisive steps” to curb the menace that constrains growth.
These initiatives include reforms in the working of the state-owned banks, removal of discretion in allocation of key resources like coal, spectrum, FM radio etc, doing away with the interviews for lower-level jobs and introduction of electronic filing and scrutiny of tax returns, he said.
Talking about the illicit funds stashed abroad, Modi said, “Our campaign against tax evasion and money laundering is well known. Rs 6,500 crore was assessed before the new black money act implemented. Additionally, over Rs 4,000 crore has been declared under the new Act. Thus over Rs 10,500 crore of black money from abroad has been detected and assessed.” Modi further said the tax department took steps to facilitate electronic return filing which presently covers 85% of assessees.
“Earlier electronic returns had to be followed by paper verification which used to take weeks to be processed. This year we introduced e-verification using Aadhaar and over 4 million taxpayers used this facility,” he said, adding 91 per cent of electronic returns were processed and 90% of the refunds were issued within 90 days.
“I have asked the IT department to move to a system where not only returns but also scrutiny is done without having to go to the office. Queries to be raised and answered on line or by email. There should a visible electronic trail of what is pending with whom, where and for how long. This is being piloted in five big cities,” he said.