SAN JOSE: Appearing to target the previous UPA dispensation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government had managed to "regain the lost confidence" of investors as he talked about his "dream" to convert the country's economy from 8 trillion USD to 20 trillion USD.
In a Townhall Q&A at the Facebook Headquarters here along with its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he projected India as a "heaven" for investors while emphasising that his government is working on deregulation and ensuring 'ease of doing business'.
He answered questions over the 'slow pace' of reforms by saying that India is a huge country and it will take time for the reform measures to show results. Modi spoke about efforts to revive the faith among foreign investors, saying the government was working on ensuring transparency and ease of doing business while laying thrust on three sectors particularly -- agriculture, services and manufacturing -- along with building the physical and digital infrastructure simultaneously.
"In the last 15 month, the perception about India has changed. We have regained the lost confidence. This I believe will bring change," he said in his 45-minute session. While insisting that "scale and speed" of reforms had increased during the 15 months of his government, Modi appeared to take a dig at the previous governments as he said that nationalisation of banks was undertaken 40 years back but 60 per cent of the population was without a bank account till his dispensation introduced the Jandhan scheme last year.
"180 million accounts were opened within 100 days of our government. This is the speed and scale of change," he said. The nationalisation of banks was undertaken by Indira Gandhi.
"It is my dream to convert Indian economy into USD 20 trillion from the present USD 8 trillion," Modi told the audience, which mostly constituted of Indians. Noting that India is a "heaven" for investors, he said, "I do not believe that there is dearth of money. Countries have money but do not know where to invest. I am giving them the address. Here is the place (India)." He also spoke in detail about the benefits of social media, particularly how it has been useful to him to connect with the people within the country and abroad, and how it can help take corrective steps if some government steps go wrong.
He became emotional while answering a question from Zuckerberg on his over 90-year-old mother as he highlighted how she had raised him by going through difficulties like washing utencils of others and working as a labourer.