Niti Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant on Tuesday denied that he had said that India was “too much of a democracy” to undertake tough reforms in response to a question about the manufacturing sector during an online event.

Kant tweeted a Hindustan Times article about his statement, claiming that it was “definitely not” what he had said.

The report cited by Kant has since been withdrawn.

The report had cited a section of Kant’s answer to a question during an event organised by Swarajya magazine. The think tank head was asked about the Centre’s policies for the manufacturing sector amid the pandemic and if the crisis was a “second chance” for India to make its mark.

Kant replied:

“Tough reforms are very difficult in the Indian context...we are too much of a democracy. For the first time, the government has had the courage and determination to carry out very hard-headed reforms across sectors...Mining, coal, labour, agriculture. These are very, very difficult reforms. The easier reforms were done away with. You needed a huge amount of political determination and administrative will to carry out these reforms which have been done.

And many more reforms still need to be done...across logistics, across power. But this government has at least demonstrated its political will to do hard-headed reforms and we need to see them through to become a major manufacturing nation. It’s not easy to compete with China...It’s not easy to become a manufacturing nation...It doesn’t happen by holding seminars and webinars. It requires a very hard-headed ground-level approach which has been attempted for the first time in India.”

— Niti Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant

In the full clip of the online event, Kant can be heard making the comments at the 33-minute mark.


Following Kant’s denial, Twitter users posted the specific clip of his speech to point out that his statement seemed to be along the same lines as the quote that he was denying.