Top Union ministers - Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal - called upon India Inc with a clear message: Tell us your problems and we’ll fix them while pushing reforms. Perhaps, for the first time a high-powered team from the Modi government was talking about the economy amid a slowdown. India Inc was in full attendance at the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence. Home minister Shah told the gathering, “You represent 60% of India’s GDP. Without your support, the dream of a $5-trillion economy cannot be achieved.” India Inc’s big guns at the awards function included Mukesh Ambani, N Chandrasekaran, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Sunil Mittal, Rahul Bajaj, Uday Kotak and Anil Agarwal.
According to Shah, the government had undertaken “detoxification” of the economy in the last five years, and the next five will see a series of reforms that would make India one of the most powerful economies in the world. Pointing out the measures taken by the Centre for making India a $5-trillion economy, Shah said that a slew of labour reforms are in the offing. On ease of doing business, he said India has moved up to the 77th rank this year from 142 in 2014. And by 2024, it would rank in the 30s, Shah added. Highlighting 10 of the 36 steps that the government had taken to revive the economy, finance minister Sitharaman said that the move to cut the corporate tax rate to 25% has boosted India’s efforts to attract companies that are leaving China. She said 12 such companies have conveyed what would be needed for them to shift to India.
Union minister for commerce and railway Goyal appealed to the “business spirit of Mumbai”, saying, “The buzzword around the country is that Mumbai dares to dream.” Quoting legendary value investor Warren Buffett, he added, “Let us not talk ourselves into a recession and lose the ‘mojo’.” Goyal said that he had been meeting businessmen and asking them to identify stress points they face, whether with the Central or state government or even with local bodies.
Sanjiv Mehta, chairman, Hindustan Unilever, was awarded the Business Leader of the Year, while
Metro man E Sreedharan was given the Lifetime Achievement award. Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was honoured with the Business Reformer Of The Year award.