GES 2017: Modi meets Ivanka

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on the world’s entrepreneurs to invest in a resurgent India as the government had made great strides in minimising the regulatory burden for companies, creating a level playing field, evolving transparent policies and overhauling the taxation system, efforts that were recognised by global rating agency Moody’s recent upgrade.

“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,” he said at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, citing such initiatives as the goods and services tax, demonetisation and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. “I invite each one of you to become a partner in India’s growth story. And once again assure you of our wholehearted support.”

Among those in the audience was Ivanka Trump, US President Donald Trump’s daughter, leading her country’s delegation. She paid tribute to Modi for efforts “to build India as a thriving economy — a beacon of democracy — and a symbol of hope to the world”.

He (PM Modi) had proved that transformational change was possible through his own example — from selling tea as achild to becoming PM — and was now “bringing that promise to hundreds of millions of people across your country”, she said.

Modi said he was not satisfied with the 100th rank that India secured in the World Bank’s ease of doing business list thanks to the various reforms undertaken in the past three years. India needed to work toward breaking into the top 50, he said.

Having doubled the renewable energy capacity under the clean energy programme in just three years to about 60,000 mw, India is now working on developing a national gas grid, he said. “A comprehensive national energy policy is also in the pipeline.”

The government has scrapped more than 1,200 redundant laws, eased 87 rules for foreign direct investment in 21 sectors and taken several government processes online to help companies meet regulatory requirements, improving the business environment and providing support to startups.

“The jump in India’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, from 142 to 100, in three years, is a result of this,” said Modi, adding that his government understood that an environment of transparent policies and rule of law providing a level playing field were necessary for entrepreneurship to flourish. Elaborating on the insolvency code, Modi said it was aimed at ensuring timely resolution for stressed ventures and India had recently improved it further, by preventing wilful defaulters from bidding for stressed assets.

Referring to measures adopted to tackle the parallel economy, check tax evasion and control black money, the prime minister said, “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.”

An investment-friendly environment needs to be stable from the macroeconomic perspective, Modi said, adding that India had succeeded in containing the fiscal and current account deficits while curbing inflation. “Our foreign exchange reserves have crossed $400 billion, and we continue to attract large foreign capital flows.”

Elaborating on initiatives such as the MUDRA scheme to provide easy finance to entrepreneurs, the PM said over 90 million loans worth ₹4.28 lakh crore had been sanctioned since its launch in 2015. “Of these, more than 70 million loans have been sanctioned to women entrepreneurs.”

Modi stressed the initiatives such as Aadhaar, saying it was the world’s largest biometric-based digital database, which currently covers over 1.15 billion people and digitally authenticates more than 40 million transactions daily. India now provides monetary benefits of various government schemes to beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer using Aadhaar, he said, minimising the possibility of leakages and corruption.

Modi said his government completed a programme to connect all villages with electricity and launched the Saubhagya scheme that will provide power connections to all families by December 2018. India has also launched a programme to provide high-speed broadband Internet to all rural areas by March 2019.

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