As Narendra Modi government celebrates one year in office, industry body CII has said there has been no big-bang investments in the first year and issues on ease of doing business still need to be addressed. Stating that investments will gradually come in, CII President Sumit Mazumder termed as “ambitious” the government’s aim of notching up the country’s ranking to 50 on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index.
The CII President said he would like to see much more action being taken on Ease of Doing Business, to cut out the red tape. In an interview on the one-year performance of the Modi government, Mazumder said: “What has not shown is, no big bang investments have come on the ground. But that will take time. “I would much rather see the government do a slow and gradual growth, scaled up gradually where all the structural issues are in place. How long it will take is difficult to tell, but based on my discussions with various people, we should definitely start seeing results by the third or fourth quarter of this year”. The CII President said he would like to see much more action being taken on Ease of Doing Business, to cut out the red tape. “I really want to see that red tape to red carpet happen. I don’t just want it to be statement. So that the application forms, inspectors, rigour that one has to go through to set up an industry is addressed, along with digitization of forms so that everything is quick”. However, he said that reforms will pick up pace, going forward. Asked when the ease of doing business will percolate at the ground level, Mazumder said: “It will start percolating on the ground very soon. But it won’t be a complete action until a couple of years”. On big investments not coming in yet, he said: “Ease of doing business, until that is addressed, there is a great deal of reluctance because historically foreign investors have come here, tried for 3-4 years and gone back disenchanted.
“So, they must gain the confidence that the situation is different today. There is a time lag between the action being taken and investments coming in. I am hoping that by the third or fourth quarter we should start seeing results”.
Pointing out that in the last 4-5 years hardly any investments have taken place, Mazumder said it is a matter of concern even among Indian investors.
“Of course one reason that is given is the high interest rate, but I don’t believe high interest rate is the only reason why investment hasn’t come. It is because of the lack of confidence in the previous regime,” he said.