GANDHINAGAR, India (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised on Sunday to pursue predictable policies and ensure stable taxes, in a speech that sought to address a key concern for foreign investors in Asia’s third-largest economy.
Modi made his pitch at a major conference at which he set out the case for global investors to back his vision of ‘inclusive growth’ that would help lift hundreds of millions of Indians out of poverty.
“We’re trying to complete the circle of economic reforms speedily,” Modi told the Vibrant Gujarat summit that he founded when he was chief minister of the fast-growing industrial state.
“We are also keen to see that our policies are predictable. We’re clear that our tax regime should be stable.”
In one high-profile case, Britain’s Vodafone was caught out by retroactive tax claims in India. Modi’s government has vowed to treat foreign investors fairly but has not changed the law to prevent such claims in future.
Modi, 64, rattled off a list of his achievements since winning a general election last May, rebutting suggestions by critics that his promise of “red carpet, not red tape” was empty rhetoric.
These included a drive to open more than 100 million bank accounts, a ‘Make in India’ campaign to promote manufacturing, and plans to expand India’s rail, road, energy and digital networks.
“We are not merely making commitments and announcements,” Modi told political and business leaders. “We have been backing them up with concrete actions.”
He expressed concern about the state of the global economy but said that India, alone among the world’s large economies, was expected to grow faster this year than in 2014.
“We are planning to take a quantum leap,” said Modi.