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Walking The Transformation

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It has been more than a year of the Modi government, and yes, a few changes are very visible. While the industry and citizens may have had many more expectations, this being just the first year of the new government, it generally takes some time to understand the machinery, identify problems, press the right levers, and deliver the results.
 
At the end of February 2015, FDI for the last 12 months was $32.5 billion, 38 per cent higher than that in the preceding 12 months. Similarly, the US-India trade for the last 12 months ending February 2015 was $67.3 billion, up by 5.1 per cent year over year. Foreign institutional investment for the 12 months ending April 2015 exceeded $47 billion, representing a growth of 640 per cent. Experts and media houses across the world are quite positive about Modi government’s first year, and most agree that the current government has delivered better results so far than the first years of the Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh governments.
 
India’s GDP calculation methodology was changed recently, and it is said that India will grow by 7.4 per cent this fiscal year. The change in calculation has created doubt in the minds of some economists and statisticians. While data can always be played with and presented to suit a specific context, there still are a few clearly visible trends that can be used to measure performance of the government. 
 
BVR Mohan Reddy
The government is now more digital savvy and keen to listen to the comments and feedback from citizens and other stakeholders. A number of websites, social media accounts, email IDs, and toll-free calling facilities have been launched to listen to the voice of the nation. The government is investing in providing the latest information and more real-time updates on its websites. Overall, the government seems to be quite focused on improving the various communication channels and platforms. 
 
One of the most visible changes is in India’s foreign policy. Over the past several months, senior government officials along with the PM have been travelling to various countries of importance to India, and this has revitalised relations with almost all major countries, including our neighbours. A number of agreements on trade, taxation and foreign investment are being signed by the Indian government with other countries. This will catalyse the creation of a favourable environment for investing in India.
 
Initiatives like “Make in India” and “Digital India” have strong potential to create jobs. A lot will also depend on how the government takes these initiatives forward. The start has been good and promotion campaigns are being run globally to attract investments in the manufacturing sector. However, the government still needs to improve the ease of doing business, simplify tax policies, and create an ecosystem to support manufacturing, skill development, foreign investment, streamlined land acquisition.
 
These changes will take time and require a lot of coordinated effort between the government, corporate sector, academia, and industry bodies, such as NASSCOM. As the union government embarks on ambitious initiatives like Smart Cities, Make in India and Digital India, it is important that they leverage the expertise of mature and experienced associations like NASSCOM to engage various stakeholders for the success of such mega projects.
 
The coming years will create numerous possibilities for India and also present several challenges. It will be interesting to see how India walks through this transformation with the current government in charge of the country.
 
 
The author, BVR Mohan Reddy, is Founder & Executive Chairman, Cyient Chairman, Nasscom


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