VGIR 2020: Narendra Modi says India best place to generate long-term returns, lauds COVID-19 fight
India's growth has the potential to catalyse global economic resurgence as 'any achievements by India will have a multiplier impact on world's development and welfare', the prime minister said.
Speaking at the Virtual Global Investor Roundtable (VGIR) 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that India was focused on a higher Environmental, Social and Governance score along with economic growth and sought to solicit global investment by highlighting reforms taken in various sectors.
The prime minister said that India was the best place to be to generate long-term returns and said the country has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world.
"If you want returns with reliability, India is the place to be. If you want demand with democracy, India is the place to be. If you want stability with sustainability, India is the place to be. If you want growth with a green approach, India is the place to be," Modi said.
India offers "democracy, demography, demand as well as diversity. Such is our diversity that you get multiple markets within one market. These come with multiple pocket sizes and multiple preferences. These come with multiple weathers and multiple levels of development", he said.
The country's growth has the potential to catalyse global economic resurgence as "any achievements by India will have a multiplier impact on world's development and welfare", the prime minister said.
"A strong and vibrant India can contribute to stabilisation of the world economic order. We will do whatever it takes to make India the engine of global growth resurgence," the prime minister said and invited investors to be a part of the "exciting period of progress ahead".
"India’s quest to become 'Aatmanirbhar' is not just a vision but a well-planned economic strategy. A strategy that aims to use the capabilities of our businesses and skills of our workers to make India into a global manufacturing powerhouse" Modi said in his speech.
Initiatives like Goods and Service Tax (GST), one of the lowest corporate tax rates, a new regime to incentivise manufacturing, a new labour regime balancing the interest of workers and Ease of Doing Business for the employers, and a faceless resolution of income tax matters are examples of an approach to finding long-term and sustainable solutions, Modi said in his speech.
The prime minister cited comprehensive banking sector reforms, strengthening financial markets, one of the most liberal FDI regimes, a benign tax regime for foreign capital and implementation of insolvency and financial code and fin-tech based payment options as examples of reforms in the financial sector.
Referring to recent policies and laws such as the new farm sector laws, Modi said, "India will soon emerge as an agriculture export hub. National Education Policy allows setting up foreign university campuses here. The last five months have seen a 13 percent rise in FDI inflows compared to last year," the prime minister said adding that this showed the confidence of the global investor community.
"Our government has taken various steps to enable private enterprise to flourish. We brought down the share in public sector undertakings below 51 percent, introduced policy regime for private participation in new sectors like coal, atomic energy, defence, and railways," The Hindu quoted the prime minister as saying.
Production-linked incentives in specific sectors and empowered institutional management to handhold investors have been put in place to promote foreign fund inflows into the country, he said.
With regard to infrastructure development, he said the government has an ambitious plan to invest $ 1.5 trillion under the National Infrastructure Pipeline and a pioneering multimodal connectivity infrastructure master plan is being finalised.
Modi further said that India has embarked on a massive infrastructure building spree of highways, railways, metros, waterways and airports across the country and millions of affordable houses are being built for the new middle class.
The prime minister said that investors are moving towards countries that have a higher Environmental, Social and Governance score. "India already has companies that rank high on these. India believes in following the path of growth with equal focus on ESG."
"India wants investment not just in big cities but in smaller cities and towns too," Modi said.
The prime minister claimed that India has one of the largest number of startups in the world. "India's 2019 growth translated into two-three startups getting set up every day," Modi said.
Seeking to attract investors, Modi said, "Today, each sector in India is looking up. manufacture, technology, finance, agriculture and even social sectors like health and education."
The prime minister further said he is conscious of the requirement of these global fund houses who seek the best and safest avenues for their investments.
"I am addressing some of the best financial brains, the ones who can convert new areas of innovation and growth into sustainable business propositions. At the same time, I'm conscious of your requirement to provide the funds in your trust the best and safest long-term returns," he said.
Lauding the country's fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Modi said the crisis brought out India's national character, its true strength. pandemic as well as traits such as sense of responsibility, national unity and spark of innovation, for which Indians are best known.
"India has shown remarkable resilience, be it while fighting the pandemic or ensuring economic stability. This resilience is driven by the strength of our systems, support of our people and the stability of our policies," the prime minister said.
Modi attributed achievements such as the provision of food grains to around 800 million people, distribution of money to 420 million people and free cooking gas to around 80 million families to the robust systems in place.
Foreign investments in India this fiscal at $35.7 billion was the highest-ever for the first five months of a financial year, recording a growth of 13 percent over the same period a year ago.
VGIR 2020 was attended by 20 top institutional investors from the US, Europe, Canada, Korea, Japan, Middle East, Australia and Singapore. These pension and sovereign wealth funds have total assets under management of about 6 trillion, said official statement issued earlier.
The roundtable is being organised by the Ministry of Finance and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund. Business leaders, financial market regulators, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das were also slated to attend the virtual event.
The prime minister will have one-to-one interactions with heads of these fund houses over the next few weeks to address their concerns.
With inputs from PTI
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