A three-day international summit of entrepreneurs began in Hyderabad on Tuesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi hardselling India and inviting investors from across the globe to take advantage of a friendly climate while President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka said much remains to be done with regard to equitable laws for women in many developing as well as developed countries.
After the event, Ivanka tweeted:
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) November 28, 2017
She also lauded Modi for "truly showing that transformational change was possible", as she commended the prime minister for his journey from a tea-seller to the Prime Minister of India. "What you are achieving here is truly extraordinary. From your childhood selling tea to your election as India's prime minister, you've proved that transformational change is possible," Ivanka told Modi.
Modi too, said that he had a great meeting with Ivanka.
The event, being co-hosted in Hyderabad by the US and India, is being attended by 1,500 entrepreneurs, investors and eco-system supporters from 159 countries.
Selected start-ups displayed their products at the lobby of the venue while digital displays spoke about India's potential in various sectors.
Modi hard sells India
"To my entrepreneur friends from across the globe, I would like to say: Come, Make in India, Invest in India — for India, and for the world. I invite each one of you to become a partner in India's growth story. And once again assure you of our whole-hearted support," Modi said while inaugurating the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad.
He said efforts by his government to improve the business environment have resulted in a jump in India's ranking in the World Bank's 'Ease of Doing Business Report', from 142 to 100, in three years. Besides, global credit rating agency Moody's has upgraded India's sovereign bond rating, he added.
Modi told young entrepreneurs from India that each of them had something valuable to contribute towards creating a New India by 2022. "You are vehicles of change and instruments of India's transformation. My government understands that an environment of transparent policies and a rule of law providing a level-playing field are necessary for entrepreneurship to flourish."
An investment-friendly environment needs to be stable from the macro-economic perspective, he said, adding that his government has succeeded in containing the fiscal and current account deficits as well as curbing inflation. He said India's foreign reserves have crossed $400 billion, and the country continues to attract large foreign capital flows.
"A historic overhaul of the taxation system has been recently undertaken, bringing in the Goods and Services Tax across the country. Our Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code introduced in 2016 is a step towards ensuring timely resolution for stressed ventures. We have recently improved this further, preventing wilful defaulters from bidding for stressed assets," he said.
Touching on demonetisation, the prime minister said tough measures have been adopted to tackle the parallel economy, check tax evasion and control black money.
"Our efforts have been recognised by Moody's recent upgrade of India's government bond ratings. This upgrade comes after a gap of almost 14 years."
India, he said, has improved its rank from 54 in 2014 to 35 on the World Bank's Logistics Performance Index. This signifies the relative ease and efficiency with which products can be moved into and from a country.
Referring to economic reforms, Modi said that taxation system has been overhauled with the launch of GST, while insolvency and bankruptcy code has been introduced to ensure timely resolution of bad loans in the banking system.
"An investment-friendly environment needs to be stable from the macro-economic perspective. We have succeeded in containing the fiscal and current account deficits and curbing inflation. Our foreign exchange reserves have crossed $400 billion and we continue to attract large foreign capital flows," he said.
He said Aadhaar, the world's largest biometric-based digital database, covers over 1.15 billion people and digitally authenticates over 40 million transactions daily.
"We now digitally provide monetary benefits of various government schemes to the beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer using Aadhaar," he said.
Modi listed out various business-friendly measures taken by his government and said loans worth Rs 4.28 lakh crore have been sanctioned under the entrepreneurship scheme, MUDRA
Ivanka bats for equitable laws for women
Speaking before the prime minister, Ivanka, who is also the US president's advisor, said: "When it comes to equitable laws, while many developed and developing countries have made tremendous strides, there is still much work to be done."
She said in some countries, women are not allowed to own property, travel freely, or work without the consent of their husbands. In some other countries, the cultural and family pressure is so great that women do not feel the freedom to work outside the home.
"Our administration is striving to promote greater opportunity for women around the world, both through our domestic reforms and our international initiatives," she said.
She also said that when women work, it creates a "multiplier effect", and leads to more reinvestment in families and society.
"When women work, it creates a unique multiplier effect. Women are more likely than men to hire other women, and to give them access to capital, mentorship and networks. Women are also more likely to reinvest their income back in their families and communities," she said.
She also lauded Modi for his belief that progress of humanity is incomplete without the empowerment of women.
"Just consider, if India closes the labour force gender gap by half, your economy could grow by over $150 billion in the next three years," she said.
Women First, Prosperity for All
This year's summit is focused on a theme: Women First, Prosperity for All.
Stressing on women's achievements in India, Modi said: "In Indian mythology, the woman is an incarnation of Shakti: The Goddess of power. We believe women empowerment is vital to our development."
"Indian women continue to lead in different walks of life. Our space programmes, including the Mars Orbiter Mission, have had an immense contribution from our women scientists. Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams, both of Indian origin, have been part of US space missions," he added.
Talking about Indian women empowerment, Modi added: "We have launched the MUDRA scheme to provide easy finance of up to one million rupees to entrepreneurs. Since its launch in 2015, over 90 million loans worth 4.28 trillion rupees have been sanctioned. Of these, more than 70 million loans have been sanctioned to women entrepreneurs."
'India has a true friend in the White House'
Noting that this is the first time India has hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, Ivanka said it is a symbol of the strengthened friendship between our two peoples, and the growing economic and security partnership between our two nations.
Complimenting India for being one of the fastest growing economies globally, lifting millions out of poverty and for the progress achieved in science and technology, Ivanka said: "The people of India inspire us all."
"The people of India have lifted more than 130 million citizens out of poverty. All of you are helping India's middle class reach its goal of becoming 500 million people by 2030."
The US State Department and other American agencies in partnership with NITI Aayog, India's think tank, are organising GES, which seeks to create an environment that empowers innovators, particularly women, to take their ideas to the next level.
The delegates include about 400 each from India and the US and the remaining from the rest of the world.
This is the 8th GES which brings together entrepreneurs, investors and eco-system supporters for mentoring, networking and investment matchmaking. This is the first time that the event is being held in South Asia.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Nov 28, 2017 22:16:33 IST