A fortnight before the Budget, PM Narendra Modi made a bold pitch for foreign investment, assuring all support to investors, while positioning India as an attractive and robust investment destination.
“The spirit of entrepreneurship in the country can provide new energy to every global partner. This is the best time to invest in India,” the PM said at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, which is being held virtually due to the surge in Covid-19 cases internationally.
He listed out a host of measures and reform initiatives, ranging from a cut in corporate tax rates, to sorting out retrospective taxation issues, the PLI scheme and easing of rules. He also highlighted a large talent pool of engineers and other professionals and a jump in the number of startups in what was seen as an indication that finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present an investor-friendly budget on February 1.
The government is looking for a major boost to investment in the coming months to ensure that the growth process stays its course and more jobs are created in the country.
“There was a time when India was recognised for ‘Licence Raj’, the government had control over most things. We are trying to remove these challenges. We are trying to promote ‘ease of doing’ business and reduce government intervention,” he said, while pointing to developing technologies and platforms such as CoWin to deal with the pandemic, the pharma industry’s contribution and sought to position India as a “trusted partner” for global supply chains.
He suggested that the proposed free trade agreements with the UK, European Union, UAE and Australia would help and pushed for investment in semiconductors and other businesses, while listing out the large asset monetisation and infrastructure investment plans lined up by the government.
“Today, India is making policies for the present and the next 25 years, it is decisive. During this period, India has set itself a goal of high growth and saturation of welfare and wellness. This era of growth will also be green, clean, sustainable and reliable,” Modi said.
While mentioning that India was way ahead of its target on the Paris goals, the PM said: “While making large commitments on global goals and the tradition of sticking to them, we have set ourselves a target of net zero. With 17% global population, India may be making only 5% contributions to global carbon emissions, but it is 100% committed to dealing with the global climate challenge. ”