Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited businesses from all over the world, including strategic partner Russia, to invest in sectors like manufacturing, healthcare, defence and services, saying India was a better investment destination than ever before.
Addressing a huge audience of business leaders at St Petersburg International Economic Forum where he was the guest of honour, the PM also stressed on the need for a substantial increase in the economic engagement between India and Russia -a day after he unveiled the joint vision document with President Vladimir Putin, outlining newer areas of economic partnership.
With Putin by his side at a joint session at Spief, Modi showcased his government's reform agenda and emphasised on the depth of Indo-Russian ties. The PM noted ties were moving forward with a good momentum. He said there are very few relations between, where the basis of the relationship is mutual trust. He said the India-Russia relationship of the last 70 years, has been based on trust, and deepened, even in a changing world.
The prime minister said that at Spief he was the representative of 1.25 billion people and thanked the Russian president for inviting him to the city, his native place. He said the world was focused on Asia and naturally on India. He said the government was making progressive decisions on all fronts.
The PM made a strong pitch for global investors to invest in India, saying the sky was the limit for investment opportunities. Indian public sector and private entities signed seven MoUs to promote mutual investments. `Minimum government, maximum governance' and `red carpet instead of red tape' have been the basis of governance reforms in India, Modi said, adding political will and clear vision were necessary for reforms. Bureaucracy too has to be vibrant and in tune with the leadership. Noting that diversity is India's strength, he said that the Goods and Services Tax will be implemented from July 1, heralding a uniform tax system across the country .
Agreeing with president Putin who spoke before him, the prime minister said technology will play a key role, and mentioned the Digital India initiative. He said a digital divide cannot be allowed to take root in the society . He mentioned the government's initiatives in financial inclusion and said that India has also made 7000 reforms targeting ease of doing business.
Modi also mentioned initiatives taken for FDI and for competitiveness. He said international rating agencies had identified India as one of the top three destinations for FDI. Noting the importance of security for investors, he said that India's vibrant democracy and use of English go a long way in ensuring a sense of security .
The PM said with the vision of New India skill development is a top priority for India's 800 million strong talented youth. In this context he mentioned the success of India's Mars Mission in the first attempt. He said the New India would have youth that are not job seekers but job creators; and can fulfil the global requirements of skilled human resource. He said rising urbanisation in India requires most modern infrastructure including metro networks, waste management systems etc. He spoke of expanding and modernizing the railway network. The Prime Minister also spoke of the initiative to clean the Ganga. He said all these represented great opportunities for investment.