Mumbai, February 13, 2016
Stating that it was the best time ever to be in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday invited global investors to be a part of the country's unfolding story and promised them cleaner, simpler, pro-active and business-friendly policies and procedures as well as a transparent, stable and predictable tax regime.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at the inauguration of the Make in India Week, in Mumbai on February 13, 2016.
Stating that it was the best time ever to be in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today invited global investors to be a part of the country's unfolding story and promised them cleaner, simpler, pro-active and business-friendly policies and procedures as well as a transparent, stable and predictable tax regime.
Inaugurating the Make in India Week here, he said his government was particularly keen to scale up investments in next generation infrastructure.
"This includes roads, ports, railways, airports, telecom, digital networks and clean energy. We are also investing in our social, industrial and agricultural infrastructure to give better income and quality of life to our people," he said.
Mr. Modi said that, so far, was the government's implementation capacity that was the biggest bottleneck but it had now speeded up processes, leading to faster turnaround of projects.
Stressing that India's youth, who form 65 percent of its population, was its greatest strength, he said the Make in India campaign was launched to create employment and self-employment opportunities for them.
"We are working aggressively towards making India a Global Manufacturing Hub. We want the share of manufacturing in our GDP to go up to 25 per cent in the near future. We were also aware that under the pressure of this campaign, the government machinery will be required to make a number of corrections on the policy front. We are committed to make India an easy place to do business," he said.
Mr. Modi said the government wanted to present to the world the enormous opportunities that India offered as a base for manufacturing, design, research and development.
"Make in India Week is an opportunity to take stock of how we have performed. And what could be the road ahead. This event will show-case different aspects of the progress that we have made. This is the biggest multi-sectoral event and exhibition ever held in India," he said.
"In a year’s time, Make in India has become the biggest brand that India has ever created. Both within and outside the country, it has captured the imagination of people, institutions, industries, media and the political leadership," he said.
"This is because: it reflects our collective desire to engage in productive activities. It also reflects the global need to produce things at lower cost. It is forcing us to make corrections and increase efficiency. It has emboldened us to integrate with the world on equal terms," he said.
The Prime Minister said India was today, perhaps, the most open country for foreign direct investment (FDI), with most sectors put on automatic approval route.
"Our FDI inflows have gone up by 48 per cent since the day my Government came into office. In fact, FDI inflow in December, 2015 was the highest ever in this country. This is, at a time, when global FDI has fallen substantially," he said.
He reiterated the government's commitment not to resort to retrospective taxation and assured investors that it was swiftly working towards a transparent, stable and predictable tax regime.
He went on to list the steps taken by the government to improve Ease of Doing Business. He also mentioned various other measures, such as policy corrections in the defence sector, transparent allocation of natural resources and fast-tracking of arbitration proceedings. He said an effective IPR Policy and patent regime, as well as a bankruptcy law were on the anvil.
He said efforts were being made to remove the bottlenecks affecting investments and growth.
Mr. Modi said the results had been encouraging, with India becoming the fastest growing large economy. "We will end this fiscal year with well over seven per cent growth in GDP. IMF, World Bank, OECD, ADB and other institutions have projected even better growth in the coming days," he said.
He said the country would, this year, record its highest ever coal production. He said 2015 saw India achieve its highest ever generation of electricity.
"India’s highest ever kilometers of new highway contracts awarded was in 2015. Similarly, the increase in railway capital expenditure was the highest this year," he said.
Mr. Modi spoke about the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), tax free infrastructure bonds, and other initiatives to enhance financing.
"India is a land of immense opportunities. Fifty of our cities are ready for setting up Metro Rail Systems. We have to build fifty million houses. The requirement of road, rail and waterways is enormous. There is no time for incremental changes. We want a quantum jump. We have also decided to do this in a cleaner and greener way. That is why we have made a commitment to the world community at the recent COP-21 meeting in Paris. Hence, we are going for renewable energy in a big way - 175 gigawatts," he said.
Mr. Modi said that, with its various strengths, India offered investors a solid platform to test and launch their making and designing capabilities. In addition, its maritime location made it easy to market products in several other continents, he said.
"Campaigns like Digital India and Skill India have been designed to prepare people to take part in this process. We have launched financing schemes which are dedicated to promote entrepreneurship," he said.
"We are soon going to strengthen this process further under the banner of Stand-up India. I feel that, today, our domestic industry and investors are feeling much more confident and optimistic in spite of an uncertain global situation," he said.
"When we started the Make in India campaign, manufacturing growth in the country was 1.7 per cent. This year it has improved substantially. In the current quarter, manufacturing growth is expected be around 12.6 per cent," he said.
Mr. Modi gave figures about the increase in investment proposals and the growth in production in various sectors such as motor vehicles, mobile phones, electronics, software exports and so on.
He assured investors that, if they took one step, the government would walk two with them.