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Indian economy an elephant that’s starting to run: Modi

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said structural reforms of four years by his government have transformed the Indian economy from being among world’s fragile five to an elephant that has started to run and made it a destination of multi-trillion dollar investment.

Delivering his last Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort before general elections, Modi said his government has the capability to take tough decisions and vowed not to spare corrupt and black money holders.

In a nearly 90 minute-long speech, the Prime Minister, sporting a traditional saffron coloured headgear, listed down the progress in the economy and his government’s achievements, especially in programmes aimed at providing housing, sanitation and clean drinking water to the poor, electrification of villages, building of highways, providing clean cooking fuel and resolving of NPAs in the banking sector.

In the past four years of his reign, Modi said his government had improved incomes of farmers and ensured the sector matched growth witnessed in other sectors of the economy.

Prior to 2014, India was likened to policy paralysis and delayed reforms. “India was considered among ‘fragile five’ (economies of the world) but today the world is seeing it as a destination of multi-trillion dollar investment. Everything has changed,” he said.

From being seen as a “risky” economy, India is now the land of reform, perform and transform. “We are poised for record economic growth,” he said.

Stating that India is now the sixth biggest economy in the world, he said businesses used to talk about red tape and policy paralysis, now they talk about the ‘red carpet’ and improvement in ease of doing business ranking.

He cited IMF’s recent report which said India’s economy is an elephant that’s starting to run. “…The sleeping elephant has woken up and has started to run,” he said.

The International Monetary Fund’s last week stated that India is on track to hold its position as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies as reforms start to pay off.

Modi said reputed international institutions and experts are now saying that India will be the engine of growth for the world for the next three decades.

Listing out achievements of his government, he said better targeting of government benefits has weeded out about 6 crore fake beneficiaries of government subsidy on LPG, pension, helping save Rs 90,000 crore.

He said there is no place for nepotism and strict action is being taken against corruption.

“We will not spare the corrupt and those who have stashed black money. They have ruined the country,” he said. “Delhi’s streets are now free from power brokers. From (a time when) the voice of power brokers (was heard), the voice of the poor is (now) heard.”

Modi, in his fifth Independence Day speech, also mentioned the clamp down on three lakh shell companies that were used to launder ill-gotten money.

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