The last six years have seen the spirit of competitive and cooperative federalism in all our actions. A country as large as ours cannot develop only on the one pillar of the Centre, it needs the second pillar of states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said. In an exclusive interview to the Economic Times, the prime minister spoke about the Centre's economic strategy. On being questioned about the Goods and Services Tax (GST) coming under considerable stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PM Narendra Modi said the fight against COVID-19 also got strengthened because of this approach.
"Decisions were taken collectively. I had video-conferences with CMs multiple times to hear their suggestions and inputs, which has no parallel in history," Prime Minister Modi said.
Speaking further, the prime minister said this is by all accounts an extraordinary year. Most assumptions and calculations did not take into account a once-in-a-century pandemic.
Some important quotes from what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said
- I believe we should use this phase of slowing down of cases not to celebrate, but further strengthen our resolve, our behaviour and our systems
- One special insight and understanding that came early to us was that the agriculture sector is one where the rule of social distancing can be more naturally maintained without compromising on productivity. So, we allowed agriculture activities almost from the very start. And we all see the results today with this sector doing exceptionally well despite so many months of disruption
- Experts have been advocating the reforms for a long time. Even political parties have been asking for votes in the name of these reforms
- Everyone desired that these reforms should happen. The issue is that the opposition parties do not wish that we get the credit
- It was often jokingly said that India had more labour laws than the labour in formal sector. Labour laws often helped everyone except the labour. Holistic growth cannot happen until India’s workforce gets the benefits of formalisation
- The reforms we have done will also signal to the world that this is a new India which believes in markets and market forces
- It’s important to remember that the Centre-State relationship is not limited to only GST. Despite the pandemic and the fall in gross tax revenue, we have provided enhanced resource transfers to states. Between April and July, the sum total of devolution of taxes plus grants-in-aid to states, including Centrally Sponsored Schemes, increased by 19% to Rs. 4.06 lakh crores from Rs. 3.42 lakh crores in the same period last year. In short, while our revenues fell, we sustained the flow of funds to states
- Critics want to deny people the credit for their tremendous fight against Covid-19 in order to discredit the government
- We are still not over with the pandemic. Yet, our economy has shown a remarkable capability to bounce back, largely because of the resilience of our people. This is something which is not captured in these numbers but is the reason behind those numbers. The shop-owner, the trader, the person running an MSME, the person working on the factory floor, the entrepreneur, all these are the heroes responsible for the strong market sentiment and revival of the economy
- We saw how a new world order was formed after World War 2. Something similar will happen post-Covid-19. This time, India will ride the bus of manufacturing and integrating in global supply chains. We have specific advantages in the form of democracy, demography and demand
- When India becomes Aatmanirbhar in a certain field, it always helps the world. If someone doesn’t understand the ethos and spirit of India, they won’t understand this concept. Confusion among experts is not necessarily a contradiction in our approach