India turning into open economy fast, GST biggest reform: PM Modi


India is fast changing into one of the most open economies in the world, with improvements on global indices and the biggest ever reform GST weaving the nation into one unified market, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today.

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In his intervention at the Dialogue with BRICS Business Council, he said programmes to promote use of digital mode for payments and transactions, encourage start-ups to set up businesses and boost local manufacturing are changing the economic landscape of the country.

“India is changing fast into one of the most open economies in the world today. Foreign direct investment inflows are at an all-time high, rising by 40 per cent,” Modi said.

In 2016-17, foreign fund inflows aggregated USD 60.08 billion, or about Rs 3,86,885 crore.

“India has moved up on the World Bank index of Ease of Doing Business. Similarly, we have moved up 32 spots in the last two years on the Global Competitiveness Index,” the prime minister added.

Modi pitched the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in a big way, which unified more than a dozen taxes from July 1, as India’s biggest economic reform ever.

“In one stroke, a unified market of 1.3 billion people has been created,” he said.

GST is expected to boost economic activity as same rate for goods and services makes business easy and also facilitates smooth movement of goods and services.

The prime minister also spoke of programmes like Digital India, Start Up India and Make in India that are changing the economic landscape of the country.

“They are assisting India turn into a knowledge based, skill supported and technology driven society,” he asserted.

He expressed happiness at the BRICS Business Council matching priorities of trade and investment facilitation, promoting skills development, infrastructure development, SME development, e-commerce and digital economy.

“Many productive recommendations have come out of your deliberations. Your work towards establishment of a BRICS rating agency, energy cooperation, green finance, and digital economy is particularly noteworthy,” he said.

Offering India’s full support, Modi hoped BRICS Business Council will take nations closer to the common objective of improving business and investment cooperation.

He also hailed the MoU signed between the Council and the New Development Bank, as was suggested at the last BRICS meeting in Goa last year.