On the second day of his New York visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited the global community to invest in India while delivering the keynote address at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York on Wednesday.
Talking about his return to power with an even stronger mandate than before, Modi said 130 crore Indians voted for him due to the work done in the last five years, having clarified that development is their only requirement. “The Indian government respects the business world and wealth creation,” he said.
Prominent business leaders in attendance included JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, Walt Disney chairman Bob Iger, former IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Mahindra Group chief Anand Mahindra.
Modi said that India is in a unique position and a market where there is scale. He said, “Our people are rapidly fighting poverty, and moving up the economic ladder with increasing purchasing power. There is a long way to go and this is a golden opportunity for the world’s business community to join hands with India.”
Modi also said that India has the rare combination of the four Ds: democracy, demography, demand and decisiveness. He also hailed the role played by the Aadhaar initiative in improving targetted service delivery, transparency and plugging leakages. “Our youth are one of the largest users of the app-based economy. From food to transport, from movies to hyperlocal delivery, startups are acing every field,” he said, inviting investments in the growing startup market.
Calling social media powerful instrument of democracy, Modi said it is being used to spread negative propaganda. “Mainstream media should focus on programming that busts fake news. Social media can be an important weapon for good governance,” he said.
He assured that the environment for investing was safe and secure for businesses, saying, “There is democracy, political stability, predictable policy and independent judiciary in India, and thus, there is safety and security of investment."
On the issue of climate change, Modi said that India’s lifestyle is an example for the world. “Earth is our mother and we don’t have any right to exploit it. We only have the right to milk it,” he said, adding that water supply was an issue linked with climate change. He went on to elaborate on the Jal Jeevan Mission, which looks at rain water harvesting and reuse and an attempt replenish rivers. He also mentioned the ban on single use plastic in India.
Modi also said that in the face of disasters due to climate change, the focus should lie on building disaster-resistant infrastructure. “I think that this is going to become a very big market,” he opined.
The prime minister also said that India has taken policy initiatives on meeting the renewable energy target, but not being a member of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) holds India back in its mission to be model in the world in terms of energy. He also said that India is inviting the world to bring technology to the country to conduct coal gasification, given that the country has the third largest coal reserve.
On his government's goal to make India a $5-trillion economy, Modi said that he first has to link laws, rules and governance to a global benchmark, to enable the world to invest in India in a trustworthy manner. He added that India was nearly a $2-trillion economy in 2014 when the BJP came into power and that the country has seen political stability after ages. “In the coming years, we are going to invest Rs 1.3 trillion dollars on modern infrastructure,” Modi said in his address.
Modi also said that India is focussing on skill development keeping in mind the needs of a global workforce. “India’s biggest advantage is that we have young talent. We want to develop human resources. Soon the focus will move from your degrees to your skills. Your ability will become important,” he said. He added that despite automation, there are possibilities of job creation, if those jobs are visualised and syllabi is updated according to that.
Modi and US president Donald Trump had addressed 50,000 Indian-Americans at the Howdy, Modi event in Houston on Sunday. He then flew to New York to attend the United Nations climate summit, meet leaders of Pacific small island nations and receive an award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Updated Date: Sep 25, 2019 21:10:30 IST