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PMO asks India Inc for list of hurdles

August 26, 2014 10:09 IST

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) under Narendra Modi wants to convey to the world that 'ease of doing business' is more than just a popular mantra.

In a meeting last week, Nripendra Misra, principal secretary to Prime Minister Modi, is learnt to have asked a group of industrialists to draw up a list of hurdles that are hindering business in the country.

Calling it a "highly confidential" meeting, a source refused to divulge details.

The interaction revolved around the factors stalling industrial performance and what the government should do to make things easy according to a person in the know.

This has come against the backdrop of India's gross domestic product (GDP) growth hitting a low of 4.7 per cent in 2013-14, and bureaucratic slowdown in the United Progressive Alliance rule hurting business.

While industry, represented by business chamber -Confederation of Indian Industry - has been assured that hurdles will be minimised and that there's no room for crony capitalism, the stricture for business is it must be responsible and ethical, another source pointed out.

Any departure would be dealt with stringently, he added. Modi has often been accused of promoting crony capitalism in Gujarat for his proximity to certain businesses.

The PMO meeting came just a few days after Modi's Independence Day speech that was emphatic on creating manufacturing hubs in India and a conducive business environment.

After he became the prime minister in May, Modi has not met any industry gathering, which is otherwise a customary practice.

But PMO officials have been interacting with industry on many issues, especially on infrastructure projects.

In fact, for quick resolution of issues, industry honchos have been in direct touch with some PMO officials, including Arvind Kumar Sharma, a 1988-batch IAS officer and a joint secretary in the PMO.

Investment in infrastructure, environment clearance for stalled mega projects, checking power outages, building smart cities and making affordable housing work are some of the areas that the Prime Minister's Office has been engaged with industry on.

Among the few industry people who met Modi after he became the prime minister include the Tata group chairman Cyrus Mistry, besides top executives of Japanese companies Uniqlo, Mitsubishi and Suzuki, and American networking company Facebook.

Pepsico Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi, who is already in India and met Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday, is expected to meet Modi on Tuesday.

Nivedita Mookerji