NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said on Tuesday that it is very difficult to carry out reforms in India as it is "too much of a democracy" and that the Narendra Modi-led government has shown the courage to carry out "hard-headed" reforms.
Kant was speaking at a virtual event organised by Swarajya magazine. His comment has led to backlash with many taking to social media to criticise the NITI Aayog chief.
Kant claimed on Twitter that he made no such comment and that he was speaking about the need for creating "global champions in manufacturing sector". However, Kant is on record making the statement twice during the webinar.
At the 20.20 mark. Kant is asked why some people are opposed to India's attempts to become a global manufacturing base. In response he said, "India has to fire on all engines. India can't grow on the back of only services. At least you can't create jobs. India can't only grown on the back of manufacturing. India must fire on the back of agriculture, manufacturing and services. All three of them on a sustained basis for the next three decades year after year to lift a very young population above the poverty line. If you think that you can do it on the back of services, whoever thinks that is sadly mistaken. You need to support manufacturing. In India, we are too much of a democracy so we keep supporting everybody."
When asked if India could overtake China as a manufacturing nation, Kant said at the 32.25 mark, "Tough reforms are very difficult in the Indian context. We are too much of a democracy. For the first time the government has had the courage and the determination to carry out very hard-headed reforms across sectors. Mining, coal, labour, agriculture...these are very very difficult reforms.
He further praised the Modi government's determination to pass hard reforms and said further reforms are needed for India to become a manufacturing nation. "You needed a huge amount of political determination and administrative will to carry out these reforms which have been done and many more reforms need to be done across logistics and power. This government has at least demonstrated its political will to do hard-headed reforms and we need to see them through to become a major manufacturing nation," he said.
The webinar can be watched below.
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