NEW DELHI: A day before the second round of polling in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a gathering of top industry leaders at the Ficci annual general meeting in what will be his first major interaction with India Inc since the launch of GST five months ago.
On December 13, Modi, who had addressed the Ficci Ladies Organisation, when he launched his Prime Ministerial campaign over three years ago, may highlight his government’s pro-business credentials, amid a growing perception of pursuing pro-poor policies, which are at times seen to be not in favour of business. In fact, several businesses have been critical of some of the policies pursued by the government, including GST and the recent Ordinance to amend the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, which seeks to make promoters of companies ineligible, which are non-performing assets for over a year.
The government has, however, maintained that the policies are meant to make the system more transparent and efficient and the resistance is due to the attempt towards formalisation of the economy.
While the PM has stayed away from addressing industry chambers, barring one at the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI), Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had recently attended the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s AGM, where he had attacked the government on GST and demonetisation.
Modi’s address will also help Ficci go one up on arch rival CII, which in the 1990s was seen as the favourite destination for most government ministers. In recent months, Ficci has managed to get top ministers as well as BJP president Amit Shah. At the AGM, apart from Modi, FM Arun Jaitley will have a special session on GST (with which industry is trying to come to terms) with four state FMs — West Bengal’s Amit Mitra (himself a former Ficci secretary general), Kerala’s Thomas Isaac, Bihar’s Sushil Modi and Jammu & Kashmir’s Haseeb Drabu.