NEW DELHI: “Too much democracy” in India was hampering “tough reforms”, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said at a virtual event organised by a magazine on Tuesday, though he later denied making such a statement.
“Tough reforms are very difficult in the Indian context. We have too much of democracy,” said Kant during the webinar.
It was not easy to compete against China without hard reforms, he added.
His remarks came amid the farmers’ agitation against the agri reform legislations recently enacted by Parliament.
To criticism of India turning protectionist, Kant said political will was required to carry out big reforms.
“This government has demonstrated the political will to carry out hard reforms,” he said, adding that the Centre had shown “tremendous courage and determination to carry out reforms in agriculture, labour, mining, coal and other areas.”
The Niti Aayog CEO stressed that the next wave of reforms must come from states.
“If 10-12 states will grow at higher rates, then there is no reason why Indian won’t grow at higher rates. We have asked Union Territories to privatise discoms. Discoms must become far more competitive and provide cheap power.” To a question on farmers’ protests, he said the agriculture sector needed reforms.
“It is very important to understand that MSPs will be there, mandis will remain...farmers must have a choice to sell their products.”
As his comment on “too much democracy” went viral, Kant clarified in a tweet, “This is definitely not what I said. I was speaking about MEIS scheme & resources being spread thin & need for creating global champions in manufacturing sector.”
Regarding the production linked incentive scheme unveiled as part of the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan, Kant said: “Services alone cannot drive the economy. We need scale to get the services, manufacturing and agriculture to contribute to growth for the next three decades.
We need global champions in the manufacturing sector.”
“Nobody has the political will and courage to support five firms to become global champions; everyone will say let us support all”, Kant said.
“We need to create an ecosystem to enable private enterprises to thrive at the global platform.”