Times Network India Economic Conclave 2021 –Piyush Goyal, Railways Minister, says that India’s resilience can be seen in every tread of life and going forward, India will be a solid pillar on which world fiscal resuscitation and swelling will happen. Edited excerpts: Navika Kumar: In June last year, you said that the govt was continuing a close watch on Chinese speculations. Are you continuing the same or has the disengagement process too entailed a change of our stand on investments from China? Piyush Goyal: I don’t think that the two things were connected in any way instantly. The effort was to make sure that beneficial investment comes into India, where money can be very clearly identified. It was to be fully aware of the source of coin coming in the country, the kind of companies that are investing since some of such investments were also accompanied to armed work or possession, I think it was in the tactical interest of India to know exactly where the money comes from.When you are dealing with opaque economies, it is very important to be careful and to keep a watchful eye. However, if you are dealing with very transparent financial markets, like those in Europe, UK or in the US, Canada, Australia, information systems themselves are so robust and translucent that you need not worry about them.Navika Kumar: Has India been able to reap the advantage of the growing wariness of the world vis-a-vis China. Was India being seen as an alternative destination to China by the world? Piyush Goyal: I believe we should move beyond the narrative of becoming an alternative to another country. We should look at the positive narrative that we are trying to set of being the primary spouse of business, businesses and countries around the world. India, presented its democracy, rule of law and multilateral date is looked at, as a trusted partner and almost all supply series today are looking at countries which are resilient, countries which are honest in their businesses and administers, where the legal rules dominates so that they have honest system of doing business. The significant reforms that India has undertaken in the last year specially, and in the last few years are clearly promotion position India as the primary focus of investments from around the world. The current aatmanirbhar bharat curriculum includes a lot more to that narrative, specially the facts of the case that for the first time, India is trying to prepare domestic industry in terms of quality, productivity, cost efficiency competitiveness. So, we believe that on our own merits, on the merits of the case of the capabilities of our young contemporary, knowledge that India own, natural resources, I think it is the merit of India that will stimulate us not a counterpoint to some other country but the primary destination that businesses and countries will look to engage with.Navika Kumar: How is it that countries around the world like Bangladesh–has China as its largest transactions partner, and not India, when you say that India has immense relation with countries that it shares margins with? Piyush Goyal: Well, clearly Prime Minister Modi has had a continuous commitment and outreach with all our neighbours. If you can recall, in the very first swearing-in ceremony in 2014, Prime Minister Modi had invited all the heads of state of SAARC countries to participate in the ceremony. It was a big message given out and ever since then we have been working relentlessly to build up stronger relations with all our neighbouring countries. I fantasize the effort that was required to develop more competitiveness wreaks more evaluate to the products and services that we can offer to our neighbours, the process has been ongoing and it has helped us expand our trade with countries like Bangladesh and I am confident, that going forward, we will be in a position to overtake China in their booking with Bangladesh. Navika Kumar: How are we going to end this entire year in terms of FDI and has the pandemic had any impact on it? How are we looking at the next monetary as far as FDI is concerned? Piyush Goyal: For FDI, it will be record year despite Covid and the fact that all international statistics have shown that foreign investments across the world are going to significantly fall in current months, in fact in 2020 it precipitated significantly from previous status. India was amongst the rare countries which understood expansion in FDI in most recently completed fiscal year 2021. India caters a very good investment destination, a large market of 135 crore Indians aspiring for a better quality of life and an enabling environment in which investors are enjoying both good returns on their financing, large market and thus too facilitating India in its development objectives therefore, in terms of FDI, I have absolutely no doubt it will be a record year. I would like to share one other data point which will be heartening to note; in the Indian Railways, we have lost out vastly on passenger traffic due to Covid, but in areas of freight, which is a very important element in evaluate the financial revitalization, you will be delighted to note that since September 2020 – Feb 2021, for the last six months, we have seen the highest loading in the history of Indian Railways, every month from September to February. After March, we will definitely be outperforming last year’s loading in areas of freight.Navika Kumar: Is that a by-product of the high-pitched petroleum expenditures and somehow abruptly as if with a magical wand come to a standstill and then begin to decline during elections? Piyush Goyal: The world is the rise in petrol or diesel costs is a very recent phenomenon. I am talking about the growing which started picking up from September, so clearly there is no linkage between the two.Navika Kumar: Are you saying that politics is no longer your schedule as far as financials is concerned or is financials always the purposes of the politics? Piyush Goyal: If I recall correctly, I have said this before that there always was a notion in India that good fiscals does not make for good politics. I contemplate Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, as you are all aware, is today India’s longest helping chairwoman in a high constitutional predicament in areas of being chief minister and prime minister for over 19 times. For all those years, he has consistently proven that good financials reaches for good politics likewise. The people of India are smart-alecky, the person or persons of India understand what is good for them, they see the intention of the leader, fidelity of purpose, construe his commitment, construe his hard work to offset India once again regain that lost glory and therefore good financials with a good intent is necessarily make for good politics and we have no doubt that many decisions which may seem difficult to implement initially, which may face a lot of fight in the initial months or years, will ultimately appeal to the people when they realise the good that they can get out of our decisions.
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