With the Narendra Modi government completing two years in office, an overwhelming majority of the 50 chief executive officers (CEOs) surveyed by this newspaper said the government has met their expectations on economic reforms. The average rating was seven out of 10.
In a nationwide survey conducted by this newspaper over the past three weeks, CEOs said a number of steps taken by the government – bringing down the corporate tax rate, clearing the retrospective tax mess and a new bankruptcy law – have made it easier to do business in India. They also appreciated initiatives like Digital India and the Swachh Bharat campaign. When asked about the positives of the government, CEOs cited better foreign relations, taming inflation and bringing down corruption in governance as top achievements.
“I think there are perceptible signs of improvement in the ease of doing business. We have also seen some important policy changes, like the Bankruptcy Code Bill, the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy and the Startup India policy, which are reflective of this government’s intent to enable economic growth. What we need now is a bigger push in the investment policy in manufacturing to make it viable for Make in India to succeed,” said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairman and managing director of Biocon.
Sajjan Jindal, chairman of JSW Steel, said, “During my travels abroad, I clearly see that government’s diplomacy has led to a rise in India’s stature at the global stage.”
Among the negatives, CEOs cited the inability to build consensus on the goods and services tax, inability to tackle the black money issue, and inability to handle the Opposition. Chairman of Videocon Industries, Venugopal Dhoot said the stability of the rupee and increased spending in infrastructure are indicators of good governance. “India is the only country in the world growing at 7.5 per cent according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This shows our economy is on the right track,” said Dhoot.