Asserting that results of the reforms undertaken by his government were becoming visible, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that the country has transformed into “one of the most open economies” in the world with a strong growth rate.
“We have undertaken substantial reforms in the past two years to streamline and simplify governance, especially in doing business. The results are clearly visible,” Mr. Modi told the BRICS Business Council as a part of the eighth summit of the five-nation grouping.
Mr. Modi said there were many “matching priorities” between the business council and that of his administration, including dismantling trade barriers, promoting skills development, establishing manufacturing supply chains and infrastructure development.
Intra-BRICS engagement Mr. Modi said the footprint of intra-BRICS engagement has expanded over time to include large areas of economic activity.
“The scope of our partnership today stretches from agriculture to industry and innovation; trade to tourism; environment to energy; films to football; skill development to smart cities; and from fighting corruption and money laundering to securing our societies,” he said.
He said the establishment of New Development Bank and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement are “signature achievements.”
“In a world of new security challenges and continuing economic uncertainties, BRICS stands as a beacon of peace potential and promise,” he said.
The Prime Minister also said the process of institution building in BRICS must continue to remain a focus area.
“The institutions that we build must support the development of our countries and regions. They should enable greater flexibility and freedom, and offer wider choices in responding to our developmental priorities,” the Prime Minister said.
He further said, “We look forward to translating into reality the idea of a BRICS credit rating agency.”
Tax evasion and fight against black money
The Prime Minister also spoke on the need to create clear norms and structures to stop tax evasion, and fight against black money and corruption.
“Our agencies must also build mechanisms of information sharing to bring to justice the tax offenders and money launderers. BRICS should push for empowering the global governance institutions to reflect today’s reality,” he said.
Mr. Modi said transforming the quantum and quality of trade and investment should be a priority.
“In 2015, intra-BRICS trade stood at about USD 250 billion. We should set ourselves a target to double this number to USD five hundred billion by 2020. This requires businesses and industry in all five countries to scale up their engagement. And, for governments to facilitate this process to the fullest. Our agreement on a tax and custom cooperation framework is a good start.”
New Development Bank He also said the BRICS New Development Bank must play an active role to support this objective.
The Prime Minister also applauded the work done by the Bank over the last year and asked the lender to work closely with the BRICS Business Council for identifying and implementing large infra projects which can help transform the economies and the lives of the poor.
The Shanghai-headquartered NDB has a book of USD 911 million and plans to close 2016 with a book of USD 1 billion, which will be raised up to USD 2.5 billion by end of 2017.