The expectations from the new government when it came to power last year were "probably unrealistic" but it has taken steps to create an environment for investment and is "sensitive" to concerns of investors, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has said.
"This government came in with tremendous expectations and I think the kind of expectations were probably unrealistic for any government," Rajan said responding to questions after his address to the Economic Club of New York yesterday.
He said in the minds of the people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image was that of "Ronald Reagan on a white horse" coming to slay anti-market forces and such comparison was "probably not appropriate."
Rajan, however, said the government has "taken steps to create the environment for investment, which I think is important." The government is "sensitive" to the concerns of investors and is looking into addressing economic issues, he said.
Rajan's remarks come as the Modi-led government completes one year in office this month, having received a commanding majority from an electorate that wanted jobs, economic development and respite from rising prices and corruption.
The Reserve Bank of India Governor said a "big part" of the business environment is taxes and the government has said it will not bring retrospective taxation again.
"However once the tax authority levies a demand on you, there is a quasi-judicial nature of that proceeding and therefore it has to go through the courts before it is resolved. The government cannot intervene," Rajan said.
"Legacy issues are winding their way through the courts, including issues based on laws that existed before they were changed," he said. The corporate tax rate will also come down one per cent
every year going forward, he added.
The former International Monetary Fund chief economist said "perhaps" India could have done a "better job" in handling these issues but "going forward the government says no more of this kind of stuff we will do."
Rajan said there are several areas where the government has taken more "serious and significant" advances to improve investor confidence and propel growth.
On the issue of subsidies, he said petrol and diesel subsidies have gone. "Going forward these subsidies will be transferred directly into bank accounts," he said, adding that already the cooking gas subsidy is being transferred directly to bank accounts.