Urging American investors to increase their investment in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the country was fast-emerging as the new land of opportunities.
Modi made this observation while delivering the keynote address at the India Ideas Summit on late Wednesday evening. The summit was hosted by the US-India Business Council (USIBC). The theme for this year’s Summit was ‘Building a Better Future’.
The prime minister congratulated USIBC on its 45th anniversary this year. He thanked the USIBC leadership for their commitment to advancing India-US economic partnership.
Prime Minister talked about the need to place the poor and the vulnerable at the core of the growth agenda. He underlined that ‘ease of living’ was as important as ‘ease of business’. He said that the coronavirus pandemic had reminded us of the importance of resilience of the global economy against external shocks, which could be achieved by stronger domestic economic capacities. He emphasised that India was contributing towards a prosperous and resilient world through the clarion call of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
India a Perfect Combination of Openness, Opportunities and Options
Prime Minister Modi said that there was global optimism towards India because it offered a perfect combination of openness, opportunities and options. He noted that in the last six years, efforts were undertaken to make the Indian economy more open and reform-oriented, adding that reforms had ensured competitiveness, enhanced transparency, expanded digitisation, greater innovation and more policy stability.
Citing a recent report, the prime minister said that there were more rural internet users than urban internet users in the country today. Hailing India as a land of opportunities, he said there were about half a billion active internet users in the country now, with another half a billion more people being connected. He also mentioned opportunities in the frontier technologies of 5G, big data analytics, quantum computing, block-chain and internet of things (IoT).
Extensive Opportunities Across Sectors
Prime Minister underlined that there were extensive opportunities to invest in a variety of sectors in India. He spoke about the historic reforms recently undertaken in the agriculture sector and said that there were opportunities to invest in areas including agriculture inputs and machinery, agriculture supply chain, food processing sector, fisheries and organic farming. Noting that the healthcare sector in India was growing faster than 22 per cent annually and the progress of Indian companies in the production of medical-technology, telemedicine and diagnostics, he said that this was the best time to expand investment in the Indian healthcare sector.
The prime minister listed several other sectors that offered tremendous opportunities to invest, viz. the energy sector; infrastructure creation including building homes, roads, highways and ports; civil aviation, wherein top private Indian airlines plan to include over a thousand new aircraft over the coming decade, thus opening up an opportunity for any investor who chose to set up manufacturing facilities in India, and also through setting up of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities. He mentioned that India was raising the FDI cap for investment in defence sector to 74 per cent and two defence corridors had been established to encourage the production of defence equipment and platforms and added that special incentives were being offered for private and foreign investors. He also mentioned path-breaking reforms being undertaken in the space sector.
Inviting investment in finance and insurance, the prime minister said that India had raised the FDI cap for investment in insurance to 49 per cent and 100 per cent FDI was permitted for investment in insurance intermediaries. He noted that there were large untapped opportunities for increasing insurance cover in health, agriculture, business and life insurance.
Prime Minister talked about India’s rise in Ease of Doing Business rankings of the World Bank. He underlined that each year, India was reaching record highs in FDI, adding that such inflows in India in 2019-20 were $74 billion, an increase of 20 per cent over the previous year. He highlighted that even during the pandemic, India had attracted foreign investment of more than $20 billion between April and July this year.
Best Time to Invest in India
Prime Minister said that India had what was needed to power the global economic recovery. He noted that India’s rise meant a rise in trade opportunities with a nation that could be trusted, a rise in global integration with increasing openness, a rise in competitiveness with access to a market that offered scale, and a rise in returns on investment with the availability of skilled human resources. Calling the US and India as natural partners, he said this partnership could play an important role in helping the world bounce back faster after the pandemic. Reaching out to the American investors, he said that there had never been a better time to invest in India.