PM Modi sells reforms story to US biz, seeks investment across sectors

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during 45th India Ideas Summit. Photo: ANI
Enthused by the foreign direct investment inflows of $20 billion into India during the first four months of the current financial despite the outbreak of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday invited US businesses to invest in a variety of sectors ranging from health, technology to defence and space.

"Today, there is global optimism towards India. This is because India offers a perfect combination of openness, opportunities and options. Let me elaborate. India celebrates openness in people and in governance," Modi said during his address at the India Ideas Summit, organised by US India Business Council (USIBC).

Inviting US investors to tap opportunities in the technology sector, the prime minister cited a report that said that for the first time ever, there were more rural internet users than urban.

"Opportunities in technology also include opportunities in the frontier technologies of 5G, big data analytics, quantum computing, block-chain and internet of things," he said.

Speaking on the agriculture sector, he said his government had recently carried out historic reforms. "There are investment opportunities in agricultural inputs and machinery, agriculture supply chain management, ready-to-eat items, fisheries and organic produce".

Pointing out that the health sector offered huge opportunities, he said the sector was growing faster than 22 per cent every year. "Our companies are also progressing in production of medical-technology, tele-medicine and diagnostics," the prime minister  pointed out.

Speaking on the energy sector, he said that as the country evolved into a gas-based economy, there would be big investment opportunities, including in clean energy, for US companies.

Stating that the economy was witnessing the largest infrastructure creation drive in history, he exhorted US businesses to be a partner in building houses for millions, or building roads, highways and ports.

On aviation, he said,"The number of air passengers are expected to more than double within the next 8 years. The top private Indian airlines plan to include over a thousand new aircraft over the coming decade."

Inviting the US to invest in defense and space, he said the government was raising the FDI cap for investment in the defense sector to 74 per cent. "India has established two defence corridors to encourage production of defence equipment and platforms," he pointed out.

Similarly, he talked about opportunities in finance and insurance. "India has raised the FDI cap for investment in insurance to 49 percent. Now 100 per cent FDI is permitted for investment in insurance intermediaries," he pointed out.

"When the markets are open, when the opportunity is high and the options are many, can optimism be far behind! You can see the optimism when India rises in key business ratings. Particularly the Ease of Doing Business ratings of the World Bank," he said.

He cited the figures that FDI inflows in India in 2019-20 were $74 billion, an increase of 20 per cent year-on-year, to buttress his point that the country was attracting capital from overseas.

"The rise of India means a rise in trade opportunities with a nation that you can trust, a rise in global integration with increasing openness, a rise in your competitiveness with access to a market which offers scale," he said.


Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel