Poor timing & still playing: 'paralysis'

The message from the Prime Minister today was that the "whole world is, once again, excited and enthusiastic about India and the opportunities that India represents".

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 8.05.15
  •  
Modi in the Lok Sabha 
on Thursday. (PTI)

New Delhi, May 7: The message from the Prime Minister today was that the "whole world is, once again, excited and enthusiastic about India and the opportunities that India represents".

It came on a day the rupee plunged to a 20-month low, the sensex slipped 118 points and a government source expressed worry about FII pullouts.

But Narendra Modi claimed that contrary to the doubts expressed over the pace of economic reforms under him, "the last 10 months clearly prove that so far as the expectations of the people are concerned, both in the country and internationally, we are moving very rapidly to fulfil those expectations".

The comments were part of an interview Modi gave Time magazine, whose latest edition features him on its cover, speaking mostly in Hindi.

Recently, Time had listed Modi among the world's 100 most influential personalities, with a testimony penned by US President Barack Obama.

Asked whether the reforms' pace was "fast enough", he replied: "There seemed to be a complete policy paralysis at that time (UPA rule)... corruption had spread throughout the system... there was no leadership.... So you need to see 10 years of the last government versus 10 months of my government."

Modi said he had a "very clear outline" in his mind "of what we are going to do in the next five years", and that whatever his government had done went "precisely as per that plan".

He projected the Goods and Services Tax bill and the raised FDI cap in insurance as big reforms. In Opposition, the BJP had steadfastly opposed both.

Modi was asked about the "unkind things" BJP members had said about the religious minorities.

"All religions and all communities have the same rights and it is my responsibility to ensure their complete... protection," he replied.

"My government will not tolerate or accept any discrimination based on caste, creed and religion. So there is no place for imaginary apprehensions with regard to the rights of the minorities in India."

The interviewers mentioned that some people said China's economic development had been "faster and much more successful" because it was a one-party state.

They cited how his government's lack of a majority in the upper House had hobbled the passage of bills and asked Modi whether he would love to have President Xi Jinping's powers to get things done.

Modi's answer was: "So, if you were to ask me whether you need dictatorship to run India, no, you do not.... If anything is required to take India forward, it is an innate belief in democracy."