Niti Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant, on Tuesday, noted that tough reforms are difficult in the country because 'we are too much of a democracy'. Kant was speaking at an online event organized by Swarajya magazine on 'The Road to Atmanirbhar Bharat'.
"So 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. The easier reforms were done away with. You needed a huge amount of political determination and administrative will to carry out these reforms which are being done," said Kant in response to whether India would now take the lead in manufacturing amidst the pandemic considering past failed attempts.
Following severe backlash from the Opposition and netizens regarding the 'too much democracy' portion of the comment, Swarajya magazine posted, "Swarajya's interaction with Amitabh Kant was on PLI (Production-Linked Incentives) and manufacturing and not on political systems. His response was in the context of spreading resources too thin and not creating global champions. Some mischievous elements have attempted to distort and quote it totally out of context."
Kant retweeted a tweet by Hindustan Times saying, "This is definitely not what I said. I was speaking about MEIS scheme (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme to reward exporters) and resources being spread thin and need for creating global champions in the manufacturing sector." Hindustan Times has removed the tweet.
Seeking to clarify on behalf of the government, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, on Wednesday, said, "We are proud of our democracy. The people of the country love Prime Minister Narendra Modi and have reposed confidence in him and it is being seen on the ground as the BJP has won even in villages. We will work through democracy to win the confidence of the people."
At the event, Kant informed that the government has identified 10 sectors for production-linked incentives (PLI) which it believes shall play a role in making India a manufacturing hub. The govt. has given instructions to union territories to privatize discoms or power distribution companies. "Discoms must become far more competitive and provide cheap power," he said, reports PTI.
Responding to questions about the farmers' resistance, he said, "It is very important to understand that MSPs will remain, mandis will remain...farmers must have a choice to sell their products as they benefit out of this."