As the Modi-led government completes its two years in power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an interview to the Wall Street Journal, has said that the changes he put in place would have been regarded as difficult to implement in previous governments.
“I have actually undertaken the maximum reforms,” Modi said in the interview, but added: “I have an enormous task ahead for myself.”
The prime minister said he had opened up more of the economy to foreign investment, made changes to check corruption, fill gaps in rural infrastructure and make it easier to do business.
He also asserted that he expects that the Goods and Services Tax bill, a major reform that will transform India into a uniform market will be passed this year. The bill has been stuck in the Rajya Sabha in Parliament, where the government is in a minority.
The interview comes ahead of his visit to Washington early next month, where he is to meet President Barack Obama and address a joint session of the U.S. Congress.
“President Obama had sent me an invitation in March. And later when I went for the Nuclear Security Summit, he had personally requested me. And it was on my request that he had visited India again. Naturally it was my responsibility too. And we’ve also developed a kind of friendship where we can speak freely with each other,” he said.
He also commented that “today, unlike before, India is not standing in a corner.”
PM Modi came to power in 2014 after his BJP decimated the Congress, which had battled allegations of deep-rooted corruption and a flagging economy towards the end of its 10 years in office.
Wall Street Journal says two years later, while PM Modi has pursued a “series of incremental, and not always glamorous, changes aimed at re-energizing a struggling economy, he hasn’t emerged as the rapid liberalizer that some investors had hoped.”
On critics accusing him of failing to bring in big bang reforms, he said: “When I came to the government, I used to sit down with all the experts and ask them to define for me what is the ‘big bang’ for them. Nobody could tell me.”