New Delhi: Addressing people on the occasion of Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India is feeling the change of these four years and he also that a sleeping elephant has started running while earlier international institutions used to see India as a risk.
Economic and social policies and structural reforms implemented by his National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had pulled 50 million people out of poverty in the last two years alone, Modi said in his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort.
“A sleeping elephant has started running,” Modi said, echoing a recent assessment by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
With a general election due next year, Modi, in his speech, compared the performance of his government with the economic conditions prevailing in 2013, a year before he assumed office, when India was counted among the so-called “Fragile Five” economies because of high inflation and a current account deficit that pressured the rupee into a free fall.
India has become the world’s sixth largest economy by overtaking France, according to World Bank data from last month. The country’s gross domestic product was estimated at $2.597 trillion, compared to France’s $2.582 trillion.India only trails the US,China, Japan ,Germany and the UK.
“India is feeling the change of these four years. Earlier, international institutions used to see India as a risk. Now they are saying India’s reform measures are going to strengthen its fundamentals. From Fragile Five, we have become a multi-billion-dollar investment destination,” Modi said.
Fragile Five was a term coined by a Morgan Stanley analyst in 2013 to collectively describe India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa and Turkey when the rupee, together with the currencies of the other four, plunged amid turmoil in emerging market economies. The rupee is again under pressure after contagion spread from Turkey, engaged in a trade war with the US, to other emerging markets.
The IMF’s chief for India Ranil Salgado had recently said that India was “an elephant that has started running”, with the economy projected to grow 7.3% in 2018-19.
“India is now the land of reform, perform and transform. We are poised for record economic growth,” Modi said.
But the growth wouldn’t come at the cost of welfare, he stressed. Modi said healthcare expenses often tended to push people deeper into poverty: “It is important to ensure that we free the poor of India from poverty due to which they cannot afford healthcare.”