For the last 50 years, leaders from the world of politics, business, culture, academia, philanthropies and many other fields have congregated in the Swiss town of Davos for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) summit.
Although India has been participating in these summits, the turning point came in 2018 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi showcased a “New India” and the opportunities available to global investors at the WEF.
At the same summit, India shared with global leaders its vision of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025. Prime Minister Modi also detailed his government’s efforts at opening several sectors of the economy to foreign direct investment.
In the context of the government’s efforts to fast-track economic development, it is pertinent to take note of the reforms undertaken in the last six years to foster an environment of economic growth. These reforms are in line with the prime minister’s vision to make India that $5 trillion economy.
The Modi government planned initiatives with a clear focus on improving the ease of doing business, creating world-class infrastructure, attracting more foreign investment for infrastructure projects and generating employment.
These efforts range from a sizeable investment of Rs 51 lakh crore in infrastructure over the last six years and the proposed merger of 10 public sector banks into four large banks to reforming labour laws.
As part of its effort to reform labour laws, the government introduced legislation that would re-jig 44 labour laws, currently on the statute books, into four categories: wages, social security, industrial safety and welfare, and industrial relations. Beyond this, the government is also determinedly working to strengthen initiative such as Startup India, boosting technological innovations, and pushing Made in India. The aim is to transform the country into a global hi-tech manufacturing hub.
With much of the groundwork done, India participated in the 50th WEF to demonstrate its commitment to the goal of building a $5 trillion economy. Climate and environmental challenges and their impact on the planet and the economy, widening global income inequality and rising economic gender gap were the focus of the conversations at Davos.
Reskilling and upskilling of labour, technological innovation and trade governance were issues on the agenda. The Modi government has remained committed to sustainable development even as it pursues its 2025 economic growth target.
Under Prime Minister Modi, India has led from the front in addressing global issues. India has gone beyond Davos to discuss issues that concern the global community. India has engaged at all levels on the issue of climate change, reiterating its support for the Paris Climate Agreement.
It has taken measures to go beyond its commitments at Paris. It has committed to scrap single-use plastics by 2022, increase its share of non-fossil fuel, renewable energy capacity and its proportion of biofuel blend in petrol and diesel, besides initiatives for the conservation and rejuvenation of the river Ganga and the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
Every country is faced with its unique challenges. It is imperative for economies to seek pragmatic solutions while striving to find a balance between the national and the global.
This will propel economic growth and make countries stronger, securing the long-term health of the planet. India has embarked on a path to becoming a major economic superpower under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and the world has begun to take cognisance of the fact that India will be a force to reckon with in the 21st century.
The writer is national general secretary, Bharatiya Janata Party. ECONOMIC TIMES, India